Banned Books

I’ve made the decision to stop buying books for a bit. I can hear your sharp intake of breath right now. You’re thinking

But you love buying books. You have a book depository wish list that is ten deep. What about all those awesome books that are about to be published?!

And believe me, I hear you. I pretty much buy a book every time I go out. And that’s kind of my problem. While my wish list is ten books long, so is my physical to be read pile. And they’ve been piling up since Christmas.

I’ve got the new Maria V Snyder and a new Traci Harding. Plus Sebastian Bach’s memoir (the rock one, not the classical one). Plus I’m only like a hundred sites into 1001 Historical sites you should see before you die, I haven’t even ventured out of the Americas yet.

So I’m sticking to this self imposed ban until I do some reading. Or maybe just until the new Patrick Ness is out next week.

And the cupboard was bare

So I’m not really one for resolutions, mostly because I don’t have the will power to stick to them. The only promise I make to myself every year is to read as many books as I possibly can (check out this year’s reading challenge in an upcoming post).

But then I saw this article on Twitter about not buying any clothes for a year and I thought 

Maybe I can do that

For those of you that know me, you know this is going to be a challenge. I see shopping as a sport, one I’d get a gold medal in at the Olympics if the world felt the same way as me about commerce. I go every weekend, and while I don’t always buy something, I’m not stopping myself from buying anything either.

But the article made me stop and think about why I buy new things at all. It’s not like I desperately need them. My wardrobe spans to one of my kids bedrooms and takes up half the space under my bed. Even with that much stuff to choose from I still end up wearing the same few things over and over. So then I thought maybe I should just stop buying things. The same day I read the article I went to the shops again (no surprises there) but I didn’t buy anything. Not because I didn’t see anything I liked, but because I chose not to. And it was totally liberating. 

Walking through those shops knowing I wasn’t going to buy anything just made it so much more stress free. I didn’t have to worry about.whay was on sale, or try anything on only to feel not good in it. I was simply at the shops.

Now don’t think I’ve completely lost my head. It’s only clothes shopping I’ve given up. On January 1 I was in IKEA purchasing up a storm. And there is no way in the world I would.ever stop buying books. But a smaller wardrobe starts with a single step away from the shopping centre.

Hej

So an ikea store just opened near me. And when I say ‘near me’ what I actually mean is forty minutes away. But I don’t have to drive on any major highways and it’s closer (and nicer) than the store I usually go to and it has free parking.

I am super excited about this because ikea is pretty much my favourite store. Except maybe for Tiger but we don’t have any of those here. I ended up going to this store twice in four days, partly because it’s awesome and partly because in my excitement the first time I ended up buying the wrong thing and had to go back to exchange it for what I actually wanted.

I love ikea because you can always find something to buy. Whether it’s a five dollar breakfast or that extra set of shelves for the bedroom. I never go there without purchasing something. I also love it because it is aspiration all. When I wander through an ikea I always think

Oh, my home could look just like this.

Just think how organised I could be.

What they do in such a little space is so amazing. Imagine what I could do in my big space.

The great thing about this new ikea is that they have the stationery range. No longer will I end up coming home with furniture all the time, I can be satisfied with a notepad or post it notes.

I guess ikea offers a lifestyle that I really like. It’s kind of akin to Kikki K and that whole Scandinavian aesthetic. Things are muted and clean, everything is in its place and there is an emphasis on organisation. I guess if you live half the year in darkness it helps to know where things are without having to turn a light on.
Coming up on my next blog: I might have the courage to write about that mind boggling stuff I mentioned yesterday.

Scot of the Shopping Centre

Today I went to the recently refurbished Macquarie Centre for the first, and probably last time. The time and effort taken to get there was not matched by the shopping experience on offer. I am very willing to travel for a great shopping experience. I’ve been known to drive the four hours to Canberra just to go to Koko Black (luckily there is one on Sydney now), and to Parramatta just to go to Daiso. But today I was disappointed.

In short, the centre has no identity. 

You may think it is odd that a shopping centre can lack feeling and therefore tarnish the shopping experience, but it is true. If you aren’t able to define a place you really can’t feel comfortable there. The sum of its parts doesn’t really add up to a whole. They have some really good stores and some great places to eat (note the ‘cruffin’ in the top left corner. That’s right, a croissant muffin combination people)  But it’s kind of like Paris – I loved every activity I did there, the museums especially, but I don’t actually like the place.

The centre’s first problem is it’s conical design. You get dizzy just walking around the levels, and there are so many off shoots to those levels that things are very difficult to find. I saw a Breadtop on my way in but ill be darned if I could find it on my way out.

What it did offer me was a chance at seeing a couple of my favourite stores in Australia – H and M and Forever 21. The result was this:

The offerings at H and M were great. Not only do I fit in the ladies sizes, but I also fit into their kids range, which is awesome because it costs way less. That being said, everything I bought from the adult level cost ten dollars – they definitely know how to do sales. Their baby range is also amazing. I bought my son he cutest dinosaur outfit and my Mum got him these amazing slipper/sock/bootie things.

Forever 21, however, was a bit of a disappointment. Everything was just too expensive for what it was and they didn’t have as nearly as nice things as they have in the overseas stores. No purchases there.

The Macquarie Centre is also lacking a Topshop, so I guess I will be heading to Miranda Fair next time instead.
Coming up on my next blog: Catching up on all the amazing blog ideas I had in May. 

Puzzling

Well I was right. Today was the best day of the year to go to ikea.
Here was practically nobody there. And the car park wasn’t even full when we left at eleven!
So today was a day of building and puzzling.

I didn’t buy as much as I normally would at ikea, though I did get everything on my short list.
First I got some tubs to hang off the change table, though they don’t quite fit how I would like. I also needed a cushion for a footstool and some shelves (see below).
I also built a clothes hamper I got for Christmas and a tower fan I bought back in November.

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Unfortunately one of my puzzles is missing a piece. But I’m not going back to Japan to try and get it replaced. Lucky it wasn’t one of the furniture items missing something.

Coming up on my next blog: Have to decide what form this blog will take for 2015.

Itinerary of a shopaholic

It’s hard to know where to start when writing about the Boxing Day sales. Probably the best place is 4am. That’s the time I got up today.
We always catch the first train into the city. That’s at 4:44am. It’s not an express but it is a limited express to Bondi Junction. We get off at Martin Place and walk the block back to DJs. We always go to David Jones first because it has better quality products, better percentages off things and it’s usually quieter.

Not today.

We were there at about 5:25am. And it was already packed. Normally we could wander around the youth/Australian fashion level and be the only people in the changerooms near Sprotscraft. Not so today. There wasn’t a queue that early to try things on but it was obvious there soon would be. We saw two television crews and two other reporters filing stories from the shopping room floor. I got my best bargain in David Jones too, 80% off.
Next we always go and have breakfast in Myer. We cut across Westfield from David Jones and headed straight for the penultimate level. We were probably there around 6:40am, and definitely shopping in Myer by 7am.

Myer is ok for sales. They are usually better later in January when everything becomes

take a further % off

That’s not to say we didn’t buy anything. There were still some very good sales to be had. Myer is also always the busier of the two stores. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because it is less upmarket than David Jones, or perhaps more recognisable?

From there it was into Westfield, or more specifically Peter Sheppard. And also Nike Metalicus and Kikki K. I was surprised at the level of sale on there. Many things were 50% off, including many items I would have considered current season. I’m still waiting for daily planners to be put in special but my guess is that will have to wait until the new year.

We also hit the mid city centre around 10:30am for Uniqlo. I love that we have one of these now. But I am even more excited that Forever 21 will be opening soon. And finally Kinokuniya, where despite everything being 20% off I couldn’t find anything I wanted.

Such an itinerary cannot do justice to what it is really like to be in Sydney City for the sales.

I can’t effectively describe the thrill of being on city streets in the early morning when no one else is around. Or the excitement of finding the perfect item of clothing in your size at 50% off the an already marked down price. Or the frustrating crush of hundreds of people ambling down Pitt Street Mall getting in your way as you are trying follow your shopping plan.

Just everything was open today. It was madness. But in a fun, empty your pockets and wish you were wearing slippers kind of way.

Coming up on my next blog: 20/20

Short changed

I found myself at the shops again today.
Just the grocery store mind you. But I had said to myself, just two days ago, that I wouldn’t be going near the shops until Boxing Day.
So much for that.

I didn’t have much to get. A couple of things for dinner (bread salad and salmon) and a few Christmas type things.

I never use the self serve checkouts in any shop I go to.
It makes me annoyed that I am doing someone else’s job. I did my stint in retail. Had to feign pleasantries at seven o’clock in the morning with super early customers. Had to spend all Christmas Eve on my feet serving the never ending queue.

So now that I have managed to extricate myself from the retail dungeon I don’t like the idea of having to serve myself. The queues are not shorter and no one is forced to make pleasantries with me. In my family, the surlier the service person the harder we try to make them respond to us, or even just smile. It’s a bit of a game.

But what bothers me the most is that I don’t get a discount if I perform the task of checking out myself. I have replaced the person they would have had to employ and pay the minimum wage. I should be getting at least a five per cent discount.

Does anyone know how I can pass this brilliant idea on to Coles and Woolworths?

Coming up on my next blog: Party time. Excellent.

Santa says ‘Shop’

I should probably save his post until tomorrow but I am too excited to wait.

Yesterday I made my annual pilgrimage to the city for Christmas. Every year towards the end of November, or in early December my family goes to the city to look at the David Jones windows and finish our Christmas shopping. Yes, finish.

We find that in the lead up to Christmas there are almost as many good sales as there are post Christmas. Though that doesn’t stop us from getting the 4:30am train on December 26th to join the throng at the Boxing Day sales.

This year there was a completely new theme for the windows. In the few years past there has been a heavy focus on carols and classic Christmas stories. This year a new children’s book by Ursula Dubosarsky inspired the animated windows.
My favourite part was the cat.

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In my house this year Christmas will be a little sadder because there will be no cat. All the branches will be able to go on the tree, as well as all the decorations. No fear of the tree being pushed or pulled over. And no little place peering out from under its cover.

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In the city there is also a tree made with lego.

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It is much more impressive than the one in Martin Place, which seems about as half as tall as usual.
It also lights up, though you can’t really tell that in the day time.

So we spent hours getting about all the shops, making one trip back to the car about mid morning to free up some arm space for more shopping. I got to go into the newly opened Uniqlo which was excellent and we had the best Yum Cha ever the the Sky Phoenix in Westfield. You know a Yum Cha is good when they wheel around plates of BBQ pork and duck and you don’t have to order them off a menu.

Upon completing this I have just realised I have no chocolate to fill my advent calendar! How will I know it’s Christmas if I haven’t eaten a chocolate for breakfast 24 days in a row?

Coming up on my next blog: Maybe I should blog the lead up to Christmas?

Comic Twist

I wasn’t joking when I said that I could find clothes to buy anywhere and anytime.
Last night I went to see one of the funniest comedians around, David O’Doherty.

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The plan had been to have a quick bite to eat and then go see him. That turned into proper dinner and a stroll into Newtown before the show.

It also ended up being a little more expensive than planned thanks to some late night Saturday shopping.

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Cue in one nine dollar shirt and a purchase a little more expensive from Better Read Than Dead.

Ultimately the stroll was a good idea. Whatever was on before DO’D went really late and resulted in one of the largest queues I have ever seen outside a comedy venue.

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It wound up and down Enmore Road and delayed the show by half an hour.

It didn’t matter though, because funny is funny whether it starts at eight thirty or nine.

Coming up on my next blog: Maybe those books.

Art and about

It’s been another Sydney filled weekend, which makes it another good weekend by my standards.

On Friday night I ate my weight in Lebanese food at El Phoenician at Walsh Bay before going to see Travelling North at the STC. As a result of having such a great night I have decided that Williamson is my favourite playwright for watching. He is just so funny. My other favourite playwright, Stoppard, has been relegated to second, because I find his only funny to read. They are so drawn out and verbose that I find myself willing the intermission to come early. Not so with Williamson. Intermission took me by surprise, and instead I was willing it to be over so we could get on with things. I think it is his Australian sensibility that makes his work so endearing to me. The vernacular and hilarity is comforting and really subscribes to the Australian attitude of not taking yourself too seriously. The jokes about children’s names alone were worth the price of admission.

I returned to the city on Saturday with my family. It was my Mum’s birthday this week and my sister and I said we would buy her shoes from Peter Shepard. My Grandmother and Aunt came along for the ride and we made a morning of it. I spent more money on books that I shouldn’t have, but oh well.

The other thing I did this weekend was go see The Monuments Men or is it just Monuments Men? I can’t remember and it isn’t really worth looking up on the Internet. You know the one I am talking about anyway. It’s George Clooney (though all I see when I hear him now is a fox in a tweed suit) saving Art during WWII.
It was ok. A bit suspenseful, though I should have figured that out because of the context. and of course, if you didn’t have a reason to hate the Nazis before, you sure do now. It was pretty much a history by numbers where the Americans are made to look awesome and if you’re another nationality you can be sure you end up dead.

Coming up on my next blog: About half a dozen book reviews I need to catch up on in order to justify my purchases.