Halloween Swap with Jacq Writes World @ Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween's the best holiday of the year! And to celebrate it along with eating all the Halloween foods around the city, we participated in a Halloween Swamp, hosted by Bloggers United Australia, which is a group mainly for beauty bloggers. 

Unlike other swaps I've been involved in, in this one you're directly swapping/sending to/with the person you receive from. Jacq from 'Jacq Writes World' was my partner, she's a mommy blogger in WA, with a toddler who has the next 'Blue Steel' look! 

All packaged with lots of peanuts in a pretty C&E box.

Things Jacq got me: candy! Mars Brownie Chocolate Bars, I don't think I've seen these before, though I haven't been to the shops in weeks. :P Fake lashes (yes I used them in my passport picture :P). Some eye make-up, earrings to motivate me to get my ears pieced. And some cool stuff from typo: magnets, a travel x to-do-list and awesome notebook! I'm going to say I filled out the form wrong, as I mentioned I'm allergic to watermelon.

To see part of what I sent Jacq check out her blog here, there's also a picture stand and card that was sent separately, as well, I posted it and then found the card!

Have you ever done a swap? I love the candy/food swaps! And we're got a post coming up in a couple months, once I've eaten everything. :P The postage of swaps is $20+ internationally, including NZ! And I thought we were friends...

Burgers & Ballgowns @ Friday, October 30, 2015

Monday 28th September

Day 2 at the Royal Melbourne Show. This is what happens when you have 2 tickets but only 1 person. Thanks for offering me a second ticket for my +1 but I have no one, everyone's got their own life consisting of: the wife, work and one hobby. And they're always busy or broke.

After the show we went to dinner at Laksa King a few tram stops away. I heard this is the best place for Laksa in Melbourne, I've never had Laksa before but it was very good. I had the seafood and jas had the duck. There was lots of meat, and it wasn't very hot - unless you drink the chilli oil which jas did.

I had the cendol dessert as a drink. I do love coconut though it was a bit on the small side and the red beans were dry. 

Service was average. Not tips-worthy according to jas. But they were very fast! We had dinner at 9.10pm and about 70% of the place was full.

We'll be back! As it's up there in Flemington it's quite far from where to usually roam, but we're up for trying new things.

For dessert we had Bibelot Domes from the show, they look great considering I was pushed downstairs and fell into them. Funny how the cops saw me fall but not who pushed me. The mango was 


Brunch/Lunch with Lola on Bridge Rd


Is it ok to eat Indian that has been in a jar in the back of a fridge for a week? Yes. 

Thoughts on meetup groups, I'm finding a lot are used to promote a business like social dance classes, speed dating (20 people, $30 each) and a lot aren't actually active. The groups I find most amusing are one that are strange or too blunt like "asian women and white guys dating group" (Asian Western Singles Events, advertising their site asianwesternmatchmaker.com.au) or "victims of online dating".


Grand Finale Friday, is the newest public holiday in the state of Victoria. A day off to see a parade in the morning and then football in the evening. The city would be very busy indeed, already more than usual with school holidays and children everywhere!

We headed away from the crowd and to the theatre to see a show or two,  as it's the last couple days of the Fringe Festival. Two acrobatic performances, one better than the other. Baba... featured a group of six acrobats. Three people in a column standing on each other's shoulders and judging a table, a series of suitcases getting smaller downwards and balls on all four paws/limbs were things I have not seen before. Guy in a giant hoola hoop was also something different, as I've only seen it once before at the adult circus. A big see saw was a very impressive closing act,  jumps, flips and various things happened. One slip and wrong move and you'll be seriously injured. Another mention was a girl balancing herself atop wine bottles standing up though I'm certain they're special bottles. She also balanced atop of unstable pipes with a board on top. I also liked the way it started and ended. With a flick of a lighter spotlight. It was one of those fancy lighters in a silver box.

The second show was very slow and wasn't really that relevant to the title. It was really just a series of acrobatic acts. With a little speech about the author's love of lattes. But other than that no relevance to the title. It wasn't a story with a great flow. Perhaps have a story was coffee like your first time, the power of coffee and conversation, meeting/watching people at a coffee shop?

Something I would have done would be to have coffee simmering on the side, don't interact with it but rather have it there as a sensory experience. It's within budget, safe and adds something different.

Dinner from Andrews' Burgers at Albert Park

It was good but nothing amazing while the bread bun reminded me of the 6pks at the supermarkets. Potato cake and chips were of the standard fish and chip store variety.


Similar to this, but just the skirt, and it has embroidery.

"When do you plan on wearing it?" Does it matter? It was on sale!

I bought a ballgown though I only like the skirt. It uses hoops which is awesome! I love big dresses that require double doors. As to when I'll wear it, the answer is whenever I feel like it :P Though probably not traveling and anywhere involving lots of people and small spaces.

Saturday night we went to a performance about finding home. The struggles of applying and getting to rent a house. O.o What do you mean it's as hard as getting a job? I thought if you have money you can get whatever you want?

The performance was set in a caravan hollowed out so it was just seats and the performance space. Great use of lighting and zones to demonstrate different areas and to set the mood.

What did you get up to this week?

Mussel Monday at Acland St Cantina @ Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Monday 21st September

Mussel Monday! I have fond memories eating mussels back home as a child with an uncle. While I love mussels to me they're an 'event food' thing as mother is vegan and believes 'meat is murder', and if you have to eat meat eat larger animals, that way you sin less. She also believes drinking leads to sin. Mother was not invited tonight, or on any other night. 

To boost traffic on Mondays, Acland St Cantina has a Mussel Monday special, $20 for bottomless pots (bowls?) of well, mussels. 

Mocktails aka Fruit Juice $8

We've been here before, in April for their 5 canape sized tacos for $20 taco offer. Expensive and small was our summary from our last visit. Read all about it here

The Setting

The mussels were very good served with parsley and a spicy sauce which Lola said was just right while I found it a bit hot. Nothing a $8 glass of fruit juice couldn't wash down. They only have one flavor by the way - mussels, not the juice.

Lola coming from an island said they were small and she'd seen ones that filled up the whole shell! I think I've seen them almost that big at very fancy restaurants. We both had two rounds each (a big dish) and then got two more to share for round three. Eight bowls between the three of us for $60.

We made the mistake of ordering sparkling water and spent $15 on water. Because I know places that have water taps with sparkling water and they're free hence I didn't think it was $. Funny thing is I actually hate sparkling water, tastes like medicine to me.

Service was good (jas tipped) and so was the lighting - I got the best spot in the restaurant by the kitchen. Because the theme was ambiance with low lighting, which the camera doesn't like. And yes I would bring my camera and take pictures on a date.

Do you love mussels? Know any good weeknight deals?

Acland St. Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Two Dinners & A Movie & Six Shows @ Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday 21st September

Dinner was a celebration with Mussel Monday! It was a bit hot but delicious, so delicious we consumed 8 big bowls between the 3 of us. We'll be back! Oh and it was $20 per person for bottomless pots of mussels, but there's only one flavour.


Tuesday started with a movie. It was good but nothing amazing and kinda pointless really. Will's a comic book artist, his wife cheats on him and then leaves him while keeping the house. Watch him struggle to move on.

Ice cream at Brunteni's was average though interesting. Slightly cheaper than most places though not anywhere as good as Helados, a few blocks away. Brunteni's has an entire menu/cabinet of all things nutella!


Table for one. Sitting on my own I'm slightly jealous of the group besides me, a trio, laughing at each others stories. I order three desserts. Green tea pannacotta, baked cheesecake and flan.

Everything was good though the flan was average. The baked cheesecake a tiny bit more dense than before. $12.20 was the total. Service was very good as always at Shyun, even on the edge of closing time.

Dinner at Mrs Kim's Korean BBQ.

I have a stack of tshirts from my years of events, which I never wear. Note that if you have words on your shirt people will look rather than glance - not starring at your rack (or lack of one for me) just reading. Jas commented that it made me look younger than my usual collection of suits (though I no longer wear white shirts), though he took a look under the table and said we still got the power skirt on :P


My first visit to the Malthouse Theatre to see 'They Saw a Thylacine' a story about a thylacine tracker and zoo keeper’s daughter. They both interact with the animal though not each other, two stories with a common element. Jas said it was more like an audio reading than play. I'm very impressed with the blonde girl's pervey man's face/voice. XD As together they portrayed all the characters, not just two girls. 

Back at the office for dinner, it's two blocks away but takes 45mins to deliver. Punjabi Butter Chicken - yum! And Paneer Tikka Butter Masala - too hot and watery! Also it was green... No pictures because we ate from take away containers. We have a kitchen at the office but no plates or anything. People keep stealing things. 


An afternoon and evening spent at the Royal Melbourne Show. Day 1.


"Nine sixty five" said the tech guy. Eek that's a bit much. What if I drop it? As a wedding specialist "Nine sixty five" to me means your quote is nine thousand sixty five hundred ($9,650). Because weddings cost a lot. And that sounds like the quote for your venue which includes a $150 food/drink package per person. That's your average wedding. Of course you can blow 9.65k on flowers, but know that they'll dead within two weeks. But that would look amazing...

It feels like a Sunday, as I went to the wrong venue for a concert... 

I didn't grow up watching Disney. Nor do we love the lion king. But I heard it's Hamlet except the evil uncle rules alone instead of marrying the mother. But I did read some of the books. And still have my Cinderella book. :)

Our second Disney event of the year, after Disney on Ice, which was amazing! This time it's a concert. Where we didn't get to choose our seats... but it was still very good. Would have been better if we actually saw the orchestra though!

Dinner, rather dinner entree at Trunk Diner. Where a wedding was happening, the reception. I died a little. Pancakes, fluffy and almost as good as the Pancake Parlour with very good service, in a fun space, a box with an open lit. A picnic but with tables under the trees. 

On my days or rather nights off I like to make the most of it, which means three shows a night! I do need them to be very close to each other physically/location wise though.

Stephen K Amos was the first act of the night. He is funny! I've never actually seen him in person before. But he was hilarious! No one around me knows who he is unless give a description though.

A Touch of Grace: Shadow Warrior is a very cool one-woman (Demi Sorono) show told through hip-hop, physical theatre and song. Demi Sorono was in  So You Think You Can Dance Australia (2008), and came 4th which is amazing! Her style is Bboyin (a cross between Break Dancing & Hip-hop).

The third show was 'A Little Less Conversation 3' a hilarious dance comedy where the stomach and a too tight shirt is more offensive then the pelvic thrust. With two backup dancers Dave dances his ways from the 80s to present day, while being a commentator on modern dance and strange and funny lyrics. XD 


A great afternoon with the two things I love most (no one of them isn't showbags :P): food and classical music.

Andy goes to Monash and tells me they often have food trucks and events O.O really?! Because we don't have that, or any music/ballroom clubs. We got your religious groups, your academic groups and you drama club which doubles up as the LGBT club.

Today's food truck was 'The Little Mushroom Co.' I'm not really a burger person but I really liked this one. Once again we had the Greek, it contained two mushrooms, cheese, rocket, sauce and was delicious! Also also glad I always have wet wipes because the sauce was everywhere, but it was very good! I'd recommend it and get it again. They're always a hit at markets, which means very very long lines! 

Beethoven's 9. I remember the first time I heard it. It was a Saturday afternoon. I cancelled study group at church to stay home and watch tv - something rare as we were very into church life back then (back home). We were watching 'Barbie as Rapunzel' for the first time, and I loved it, and still do. The music, her dress, hair, the magic of it all. And so the music always takes me back there. It was how I first heard classical music - yes in the Barbie Movies, back when she was your classic fairytale princess. I'm not into pop star princess Barbie who wants to start her own band, live at the big brother dream house and have ken/bieber as her gay  bff. Dvorak's New World Symphony also featured in the movie, and I have the record (as in disk for the gramophone).

How was your week? Have you tried the delicious mushroom burgers?

This is the first in a series of posts titled "Let's Go Shopping" with Charlie (yes that's me) who shows you tips and tricks on shopping from both points of view, as a marketer and consumer/shopper.

Living in the city (lies, we just have an office based in the city, and an weekend apartment too - till he left me) there's always events on. Free and ticketed. Lots of shopping events and special offers linked to events, the next one coming up is the 'Spring Racing Carnival' exclusive to Melbourne. 

If you're not from Melbourne my short one sentence/paragraph summary is: an event with a series of 2.5-3min horse races, as an excuse to drink and gamble while dressed up with $400 headpieces and dresses you bought just for this one day (hopefully we rented both). A social event. 

So without further ado here's four things shops and their sale assistants will do to create value for you and increase chances of a sale.

Source: The Wow Factor by Jacqui Stafford

1. Would you like a free* make-up application?

Myer/DJ has caught onto those only here for a free application, hence it costs you $50-70 but you can redeem it on products. The Body Shop also does a make-up service based on the same idea. These are always available, but advertised more during events like fashion week and racing season.

My Tip - Well here in Melbourne we rarely offer them free, other than for DJ's Beauty Book Offer. Say yes only if a. you're already planning to buy something b. you can say you'll "think about it" (that means no thanks).

2. Can I start you a dressing room?

Yes please! Though as not a fan of in person shopping, this only happens to me at Alannah Hill. It also happens during off peak hours where there isn't a line for the change rooms.

This also happens at Lovisa/Colette. Where they offer you a basket. And that one works for me - but only if they have 3 for $10. ;)

A tip to counter it? Know what you want. For me I saw it online, called and put sz12/14 on hold. Went in. Checked out the sale section. Tried the dress. And then bought it/returned it. Know what you want, or if not know what your budget is and stick to it.

3. You're Invited to Our VIP Event!

Count me in! I'm here for the bubbles (just a sip) and mini cupcakes/macarons. Review has a mini candy buffet and pre-packaged candy too.

VIP Events stroke the ego like nothing else. Samamtha Jones would add a sexual reference here, but I won't. ;) If I'm on the list then I'm almost gurented to buy something. Throw in a showbag/goodie bag and you got me. These events are sometimes launches for the seasons collection and via invite online for all email subscribers. 

In Melbourne there's the bi-annual shopping where a lot of the stores will do this. An upcoming one (as I'm writing this) is on Thursday Night. Party on every level at Myer in celebration of spring racing.  

Tip - Don't go. Or know what you want and your budget. Know that you don't have to buy anything.

4. Everyone Wants Those!

This is a marketing technique my manager at work used on me. She lied. I'm not happy, but I did want that brooch. But she lied about them being very limited. People who work together-ish shouldn't do this!

From a selling point of view be careful with this technique. Assess how the girl is dressed, if she's mainstream and conscious of fitting in, go for it. If it's me or someone who rocks their own style, no. They weren't trying to fit in and doesn't want what everyone else does.

Counter? Know your style. Do you actually want this? Or are you buying it to keep up to trends and fit in?

Do you know any other tricks sale assistants use to entice you into 
spending/more than you planned? Let us know in the comments below!

Stay tuned for our next post in the 'Let's Go Shopping' series about grabbing a poential "bargain" or not in "Should I Buy It?" 

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