Books, Bargains and Freo

Books, Bargains and Freo

Aghhghghhh!  A whole month has gone by and I have to go back to work tomorrow!  Ugh!  So unfair!  Why didn’t I win the lottery in that time?  Possibly because I didn’t buy a ticket, but hey, let’s not let reason and sense get in the way here!  I can’t believe four weeks has passed and I have little to show for it.  OK, so I have new-ish boobs (or, at least, smaller ones) which are healing nicely, thank you, but not much else has been accomplished.  To be fair, I wasn’t able to do much for the first couple of weeks, being sore and ouchy and so tired (I think my body just went “Ahhhhhhhhh” and wanted to recuperate and rest and sleep) but, really, I was hoping to get a few more things done.  To be honest, it was nice to be forced to relax and NOT do anything.  I actually read three whole books.  Woo!  I love reading but never take the time these days to actually curl up with a book and spend a hour or three lost in its pages.  I read “Sufficient Grace” by Amy Espeseth (oh so good – I couldn’t put it down), “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd (also excellent – my Mum read it straight after me and she loved it too), and “The End of the Alphabet” by C. S. Richardson (Oh, such a sad but beautiful book.  I finished it in a morning.   I made my Mum read this too and she also cried ha ha.  We are a pathetic pair).

These final few days, as I went into “Oh God I have to go back to work!” panic mode, I tried to pack as much entertainment and activity as possible, so as not to waste the time.  A couple of days were spent getting my house in order, doing mundane things like ironing, tidying up and sorting out paperwork (who am I kidding?  I just ended up watching thrifting haul videos on Youtube! There was no tidying or sorting!) and trying to get ready for the routine of the working week.

On Tuesday, I met my cousin for lunch and spent a nice afternoon with her, chatting and eating too much.  We dined at Yocal, one of my absolute fave places to eat.  Their menu is excellent – lots of vego and vegan choices, reasonably priced and the staff are super friendly.  It’s hip and cute and the food is DELICIOUS!  My cousin and I shared the Mushroom and Haloumi burger – so yummy!

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On Wednesday, after having my dressings removed and surgical wounds checked to make sure they were healing ok (they were, thankfully), I did a bit of op-shopping with Mum.  We visited 3 or 4 stores but neither of us had any luck in finding anything.

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We also went to a second-hand book store and found a few bargains there.  I got some nice decorating and craft books plus a handy guide to succulents.  I particularly liked the title of one of the books :

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Mum got some lovely gardening titles and a couple of novels.  We visited IKEA and had lunch before grabbing a few bits and pieces (can’t leave IKEA without getting SOMETHING) including some awesome journals with lovely blank pages, perfect for journaling or drawing or painting or whatever! (We just like notebooks – it’s a sickness).

On Thursday, Mum and I went down to the port town of Fremantle for the day.   Lots of lovely shops, markets and places to eat.  Our first stop was East West Design  – a treasure trove of furniture and home wares from every corner of the globe.

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We had not been before, but the owner is a friend of my cousin’s, so I had heard about it and was keen to have a look.  Oh Mylanta!  So many pretty things!  And it went for miles and miles!  The stock was floor to ceiling, pretty much, in a huge warehouse-size shop, with every taste catered for.  I spotted a cute little shelving unit, white and so pretty, as soon as I stepped in the door.  I really had to convince myself not to buy it, but in the end I knew I really had nowhere for it in my little house.  However, Mum did purchase a matching magazine rack that was really nice and will look great in her place.

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She also got a Buddha head – she’s been searching for one for ages.  It’s for her garden – this one was just the right size and colour and an amazingly inexpensive price.  Perfect.  The one pictured below was a very large version – nearly as tall as me and weighed a tonne (a bit like me ha ha).  It was $900…a bit out of our price range but I would love to have had it in MY garden!  Oh well, I know where to get one from if ever I come into money!

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Afterwards we pottered around Fremantle and had a look in some little shops, including the Oxfam store, which always has some lovely things.  Mum is currently redecorating her lounge room in blue and white so her eye was quickly drawn to the goodies on display here.  She ended up buying a little candle holder – so pretty and the blue is just right (you can see it in the photo below – second from the right, top right corner).

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Fremantle itself has some lovely street art, decorating even the most mundane of items, like rubbish bins and plant boxes.  Check out these gorgeous mosaic planters :

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I noticed that the majority of shops and cafes also had these recycled wood plant boxes – so rustic and chic! :

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 Even the boring old bollards on the corner of the street were jazzed up :

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We had a lovely day just walking around and window shopping, before heading home to beat the traffic.

Wish we could have more days like this – it’s so nice to just wander around, having nowhere you need to be and nothing urgent that needs doing.  If only pesky work didn’t get in the way all the time!

So it’s back to the grind for me tomorrow.  I am looking forward to seeing my workmates but not relishing the idea of getting up when it is cold and dark.  Ugh.  I should have been practicing my “getting up when the alarm goes off” routine but, alas, I have been sleeping in super late every day.  Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get used to the daily drudgery soon enough!

🙂

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Pain in the Neck, Cake & The Joy of Thrifting Videos

Pain in the Neck, Cake & The Joy of Thrifting Videos

I am off work at the moment with a painful neck.  After all the stress of the last couple of weeks at work, with all the heavy lifting and long days, my neck decides to spaz out on me when I am doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to aggravate it.  Maybe it got used to the stress and heavy lifting…maybe it got confused on the weekend when I was no longer working long hours… Who knows?  All I know is that on Sunday morning, after a reasonably long country drive, down to my Dad’s for Father’s Day, I got out of the car, my neck went “ping” and I went “ouch”.  I also went into immediate meltdown because my neck and back have been good for ages and to have this happen made me panic and start seeing visions of a yet-again painful and debilitating future.  But I have been to the physio, been strapped up and pummelled and am now at home, resting up, trying to keep my muscles warm and un-stressed, so I can hopefully go back to work tomorrow.  Because being at work is way better than being at home, unable to do anything but watch TV and drink endless cups of tea.  I desperately want to craft or go op-shoppping but can do neither due to having the neck pain and no money (have over-spent a little bit this month, need to reel it in a little) and also being in my pyjamas with no bra.  Ok, you didn’t need to know that last bit…but bra straps do dig in to sore neck and shoulder muscles so going about sans bra is essential.  Essential maybe, but not very attractive.  Ahem, moving on…

So, I’ve baked a cake (my stand-by Gingerbread Cake).  I don’t know who for, because there’s only me here and I’m supposed to be lowering my sugar and fat intake.  I can’t take it to work because the new digs are supposed to be sugar free and a haven of good eating and healthy snacks.  So, I will most likely eat a piece (or two) and freeze the rest, so I have something to offer unexpected guests.  Which I never have because everyone knows I hate the “pop in”.  At the end of the day, I know the cake will be entirely scoffed by me, over a period of time.

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Besides baking a cake, I have made a couple of necklaces for my niece – really quick, simple ones that only took a couple of minutes and wouldn’t hurt my neck (i.e. with sitting and hunching over for a long period, fiddling about with tiny beads and whatnot) – she likes the simple “surfy” style chokers that just have a black cord with one little charm on them.  I looked through some craft magazines, watched Dr Phil (some lady boo-hooing about her “famous” baseball-playing husband treating her badly…I don’t know these people and although any kind of spousal abuse is wrong and not to be joked about, I couldn’t quite figure out if the lady was crazy, lying or just wanting attention from the media…I got bored and didn’t watch to the end so I’m gonna go with crazy.  And possibly on drugs) and, surprisingly, did some dishes.  I also have been watching lots of YouTube videos about thrifting.  There is something strangely addictive about watching other people shopping.  Not normal shopping, in department stores of whatever, but thrift store shopping (op-shopping as we call it here in Oz).  Seeing someone pick up some vintage dresses for under $5 is exciting.  Watching another YouTuber collecting some fabulous homewares from charity shops and then giving them a makeover?  Enthralling.  But then I am home bored and unable to do much myself so watching other people go shopping is about as exciting as it gets for me.  Here are some YouTube channels I recommend, if you’re interested:

Hermione LillaRosa – Lovely English lassie with ever-changing hair colours, fabulous non-fashion sense, quirky decorating style.

Thrifters Anonymous – A couple of thrifting buddies shop up a storm in some of the most-amazing-looking op-shops in the U.S.  One of these shops is apparently 34’000 sq feet in size.  Swoon.

Grav3yard Girl – If you haven’t watched Bunny’s channel before, do stop by and watch a couple of her “Thrift Hurl” videos.  Seriously, she is just so entertaining and I have watched her for a couple of years now.  I do tut when she is promoting products that are not cruelty-free…but then I skip over to one of her thrifting videos and then I’m happier.  She just makes me laugh.

Haul or Nothing : Thrift Store Shopping (on FAWN) – I wish someone would challenge me to a thrifting spend-up

Riannstar – She makes me laugh.  Mostly because I don’t think she actually gets the whole thrifting/op-shopping thing.  I think if you’re looking for “in-season” pieces or anything “on-trend” you should probably go to different shops.  The whole point of op-shopping is that you don’t look like everybody else and don’t have to spend a fortune.
But that’s just my opinion.  Maybe I’m wrong… (I’m in pain and cranky so it’s likely I am just being picky for nothing).

Xpurr – Welcome to the crazy world of dumpster diving.  Crazy because people THROW AWAY SO MUCH STUFF IT IS CRAZY!!!  I find it fascinating that all this stuff (most of it brand new) gets thrown away by shops etc.  This videos for me are like watching those makeover shows or American Pickers or something.  I wish I was brave enough to go dumpster diving.  But I know if I was brave enough, I would probably just end up finding a load of rubbish.  And catch the plague or something.  It amazes me that so many people and businesses can throw all that stuff away and I have trouble tossing empty rolls in the bin, recycling or otherwise.

Anyway, that’s a few that I like to watch.  Mostly, they’re just fun distractions.  I get the guilts when watching anyone buy lots of new stuff (the world has enough landfill in it thank you) and really, there is enough second hand stuff in the world to clothe and decorate us and our homes into the next millennium.

Well, I’m sore and achey from sitting here in front of the computer for even this short length of time so I will retire to the lounge room, make another cup of tea (I’ll go crazy and make it a proper cup – no more herbal for today) and heat up yet another heat pack for my neck.  Hopefully I will get my bum into gear this weekend and make some stuff to show you.  I have a business idea I may or may not share with you at some stage…still working out the logistics (i.e. whether I can be brave enough to do it).

Have a happy, thrifty week – let me know if you find any 2nd hand treasures (but only if they won’t make me jealous) 🙂

Tofu Burgers (and the Worst Blogger Award)

Tofu Burgers (and the Worst Blogger Award)

Worst. Blogger. Ever.  That award goes to me at the moment.  I apologise for my lack of posting.  It’s not because I haven’t had the inclination, it’s just that I am trying very hard not to be negative on here and write a bunch of woe-is-me-I’m-so-sad stuff.  The last few weeks have been difficult and I have been struggling with life in general so I have promised myself I won’t post anything when I am in that frame of mind.  It’s best for everyone.  Especially you.

Today I have been tidying and sorting out my house.  Again.  But this time, I am determined to get it to a point where things are contained and neat and make sense, rather than just shoving things in cupboards and hoping no one ever opens the doors.  I have three whole days off this week – I needed to take a few mental health days but also get my house in order because I have rent inspection on Thursday.  This always sends me into spasms of panic because I suddenly notice how dire the situation is, with regards to the neatness of my home.  When I am sad I tend to neglect things even more so I desperately needed to give the whole place an overhaul this week, for my own sanity if nothing else.  I spent much of Sunday cutting up a tree that had fallen down in my back courtyard.  It was only a small tree, a shrub really, but still too heavy and large for me to carry out on my own.  Besides that, the only access to my back yard is through the house itself, so, short of dragging a whole tree through my house, I had to cut it down to size and remove in stages.  Took me FOREVER.   I only had a small hand saw with which to do the cutting and as I am a bit of a girly-girl, I was not very good at using it (I would have been a terrible lumberjack).  Plus, at one point, I fell over the whole sorry mess and landed rather awkwardly and painfully on my wrist and shins.  Massive black and blue marks on my legs but luckily no harm done to my wrist.

Stubborn-ness will always win in the end though (that’s my motto, anyway) and after several hours I had dismembered the tree enough to take it out to the wheelie bin and get rid of it all.  Except for the main trunk – I gave up on that as all the smaller branches had grown and interwoven into an impenetrable mass and I would have been there until next Christmas trying to disengage it all.  So that large part got sneakily hidden behind a bunch of shrubbery and ivy vines in my back yard.  It will do.

Today I sorted through all my clothes and put away Summer stuff (we’re only 2/3 of the way through Winter mind you…soon it will be time to take the stuff back out again!), packed up unwanted items to take to the op-shop and put my mattress back in the bedroom (I’ve been sleeping in the lounge as it is so cold in my bedroom, but it doesn’t look very nice to have a mattress in your main living area – even a slob like me can see that!).  Bed made, ironing sorted and put away.  So I’ve made a good start and will begin on the craft room tomorrow (ugh – that could take HOURS and HOURS).

Tomorrow I am also meeting up with friends for lunch.  We’re all bringing something to share, so after a hasty search through my quite bare pantry, I decided to make Tofu Burgers.  These yummy little morsels are one of the first things my soon-to-be-ex-hubby made for me, but don’t hold that against them 🙂  They are tasty and easy to make plus they’re good for popping into lunch boxes or for taking to a party as a little snack (you could roll them into balls and serve them on cocktail sticks with a little bowl of sauce for dipping).  They’re pretty versatile and make a good meat-free option if you have vegetarians coming around.  I usually find that these go quickly when served at parties and are usually devoured by the carnivores in the group.  Which is just typical!!!  If you serve vego food, you can guarantee the non-vego people will eat it.  Every time.

Anyway, on to the burgers.  I have been making these a long time now and so have modified the recipe (i.e. forgotten the original) so I’m giving you approximate measurements here.  Add a little more breadcrumbs if you think the mixture is a bit wet, or add a wee bit more sauce if you think is too dry.

TOFU BURGERS

1 package tofu (silken or firm but not the hard stir-fry type) – mashed with fork
1 onion, diced finely or 1/2 cup powdered onion
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt & Pepper
Herbs of your choice (I usually use chopped chives or parsley)
1 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Barbecue Sauace
2 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 cup grated cheese (optional)

Mix all ingredients together.  The grated cheese is optional, but does give a nice taste and little “oozy” bits here and there.  Form mixture into patties, balls or larger burgers (whatever you like!).  The original recipe called for frying the burgers in oil, but I don’t really fry anything, so I bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180 C.
They should be lightly browned on the outside and firm to the touch but still moist on the inside.  Serve as they are with a salad or make up a hamburger with them (although I think there is already enough bread in there…).  Yum!  Try your own flavour combos with the mixture – it’s pretty forgiving and always turns out.
Recipe makes about 12-15 little patties, depending on size.

Enjoy! 🙂

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