Fashionista ~ Career Woman ~ Op Shopper ~ Online Shopping Addict ~ Bargain Hunter ~ Child Rearer ~ Book Reader ~ Social Commentator

Monday, October 31, 2011

Melbourne: Quirky Spots, Brunches & Flight Cancellations

You may remember this post, where I complained about Tiger Airways cancelling all Canberra routes and having to rebook my Melbourne girls weekend away flight tickets. Turns out I attract flight cancellations, because I re-booked with Qantas and of course was caught up in all the strike action, and the grounding of their entire fleet.

I don't know whether it's Qantas or the unions to blame, probably both... but I don't really like how Qantas dealt with the situation. On their website, via an sms from Qantas, via the media... I was told to phone customer service, that they would organise accommodation, meals, transfers and flights for passengers between flights. They didn't say that they'd reimburse us if we organised it ourselves, so I was hesitant to book another night at the city hotel I was at. This would have been fine if I could actually get through to customer service.

On Sunday morning, I spent 2 hours and 45 minutes on hold, before being disconnected. Luckily I have family in Melbourne, so I went out into the suburbs to stay with them. That night, I spent another 2 hours and 30 minutes on hold, before deciding I had wasted enough of my life listening to Qantas hold music. I logged onto the internet and booked an expensive flight home with Virgin (I was lucky to log on right after Virgin had released new seats), and am back in Canberra now, only 1.5 days late.
Source: ABC News

I can deal with the flight cancellations, the grounding etc... what really annoys me is that I wasted 5.25 hours on hold to Qantas because I was told to do so, and even then didn't get to talk to anyone or get any help. OK, *rant over*.

Despite the stress of trying to organise a new fight, and taking a bus out to the suburbs and back to the airport (which made me feel sick), I had a lovely weekend. Melbourne is such a vibrant, colourful city. It is SO alive, especially compared to Canberra.

My girlfriend and I spent the weekend eating and shopping mainly, with some cocktail drinking thrown in too. Here is a rundown of the weekend (excluding shopping purchases which warrants a separate post!):

(1) Friday AM - brunch at Sette Bello, Hardware Lane. Chilled atmosphere, great coffee [They use Genovese beans, which I love], simple but yummy food. I had the vegetarian breakfast pizza:

(2) Friday PM: Some Jennifer Hawkins spotting, and then dinner at an Italian restaurant on Lygon Street.

(3) Saturday morning - brunch at cafe (McIvers Coffee and Tea Merchants) outside Vic Markets. People watching and relaxation, followed by a stroll through the markets.

(4) PM - Lunch/arvo tea/coffee at Thousand Pound Bend, a quirky inner city spot with great decor if you like vintage:

(5) PMPM - Cheap and cheerful cocktails at the quirky and cosy Prudence Bar in North Melbourne:

(6) Sunday AM - brunch at the Auction Rooms, North Melbourne. Delicious food, great service, great prices... I found the coffee to be a bit weak.
Look at the perfectly poached egg, it makes my heart sing! Pity I had my mobile phone glued to my ear all through brunch on hold to Qantas...

(7) Shopping shopping shopping, to come in the next post. Isn't this inner city, inner mall free for all community herb garden a wonderful idea? (inside Melbourne Central):
I didn't get a chance to visit Brunswick St, or go op shopping... but there is always next time. Melbourne is my favourite city in Australia!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Burnt / Burned Coffee Taste – What They’re Doing Wrong

This morning, I got my usual coffee made by my favourite barista, and it tasted disgusting and burnt. This is a rarity, her coffees are usually consistently good. It got me thinking about where this burnt taste comes from. I have heard conflicting reasons, and even the google research was not straight forward. This post attempts to explain why your coffee tastes burnt or like ****.

I am a coffee snob. I like my coffee, and I like it bitter. I don’t add sugar, and I choose a cappuccino over a latte because if made properly, it will taste stronger. Although a lot (or even most) coffee shops don’t know this, a cappuccino should be equal parts espresso and milk (and the rest is filled with foam)... whereas a latte should have twice as much milk as espresso.

The first thing to note is that the taste does not come from burnt beans; it’s all in the making. A dark roast can be bitter with “charcoal” characteristics, but a coffee snob will be able to tell whether it’s a bitter roast or whether the coffee has been badly made. Where coffee using the same roast (ie at the same cafe) tastes different depending on the maker or day, that’s a good indication that it’s not the bean type that you have an aversion to.

Source: 123rf.com

Let’s get technical for a moment. Coffee making is actually more science than art. “Extraction” refers to the percentage (by weight) of the soluble coffee grounds that are dissolved in the water. Another issue is which solubles are dissolved – this depends on solubility of different substances at different temperatures, changes over the course of extraction, and is primarily affected by temperature.

Ideal extraction yield is widely agreed to be 18%–22%. The numbers themselves don’t matter; what matters is that there is a range in which coffee is considered to be well extracted. Coffee that tastes burnt has been over-extracted, as bitter components continue to be extracted after acids and sugars have largely completed extraction (and the process should have stopped).

Water temperature is also crucial as it affects the proportions in which solubles are extracted – you want to extract the desired flavors as much as possible, and the undesirable flavors as little as possible. The recommended brewing temperature of coffee is 93 °C. If the water is too hot, some undesirable, bitter, elements will be extracted, adversely affecting the taste.

Don't try to understand this graph unless you like graphs (I didn't...)- it's here to show how seriously some people take coffee making, and how maths and science comes into it. Source: Coffee Cuppers 

But what does all this mean? What is the barista (or under trained 18 year old making your coffee) doing wrong? 

Let’s apply this to the commercial coffee machine. Firstly we need to understand how it works. It works by forcing almost boiling water through packed coffee grounds.There are different types of machines, but most of the ones you see in cafes in Australia are steam driven. They use steam to force the water through the grounds.

Things that will cause over-extraction (and the yucky burned taste):

- When the steam/water is not forced through the beans fast enough. Depending on the grind type, there is an ideal brew time. Over brew and you over extract. This almost always happens because the tamp (that's the pressing of the ground beans into the holder) is too firm - so the barista has either put too much coffee into the holder, or has put the right amount but has stamped it down way too hard. This then means that the water can't get through the coffee as quickly as it should. 
Ideally, a shot needs to be timed and the barista needs to measure how heavy the tamp is compared to how fine the beans are grinding at that moment.

- Another issue is that the group head (the coffee holder goes in here) gets very hot, and if the grinds are left in there too long it will adversely affect temperature.

- Dirty, unmaintained machines can contribute to **** tasting coffee – when the machine isn’t working properly, the barista has little hope of getting the pressure right.

In short, it’s the coffee being over-extracted that results in the burnt taste – not burnt milk as some would suggest. Burnt milk is a whole other story, and will also adversely affect the taste of coffee (but doesn’t cause the burnt bitter taste). Burnt milk tastes sweeter than normal milk, is thinner and less creamy and has the aroma of “burnt milk” (overheat milk in the microwave and you’ll see what I mean if you don't already).

Got through all that science? You can call yourself a real coffee snob now! Congrats..

Of course, coffee making IS also an art... some coffee works of art (latte art):

Monday, October 24, 2011

I’ve finally bitten the bullet: first ever spray tan

As a rule, I don’t like fake tans.  I think they tend to look tacky, fake, orange and did I mention ORANGE!? I associate a spray tan with platinum blond hair, super heavy makeup and fake nail wearing Barbie dolls. That said, I love a natural tan or sun kissed olive skin. I have super pale skin, and while I tan well… I don’t particularly want to get skin cancer, or wrinkles. Therein lays the dilemma. 
 Source: Uamodels
I’m not sure what undertones my skin has (I have never really ‘gotten’ the whole yellow/pink undertone distinction) but something about it does not suit pale colours. What I do know is that wearing pale pink, blue, greys etc make me look washed out and rather ill. This means that if drastic action is not taken, I will look very pasty in the light pink (think shiny fairy floss) dress that I’ll be wearing as bridesmaid in November (and no, I did not choose the dress).
The pros and cons of my options were as follows….
Option 1: Spend plenty of time in the sun, burn a little but get that really natural glow. Pros – looks best. Cons – Skin cancer, wrinkles, sunburn… 
Option 2: Use a gradual tanner in a moisturiser. Pros – not as obvious as a spray tan, and you can build it up slowly. Cons – I find that over time, I get uneven patches and it stains my elbows and underarms. Exfoliate? You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.
Option 3: Spray tan. Pros – over and done with quickly, you can get a professional to do it, you can exfoliate and moisturise madly for a week prior to make it look better and last longer. Cons – has the potential to look ugly. And I was so scared – I had been putting it off and putting it off because something in me was terrified – silly I know!
Option 4: Do nothing. Pros – looking pale is better than looking orange. Saves money. Cons – I will look sickly in the wedding photos, and I’ll feel self-conscious on the day…
There was no doubt about it, I had to try a spray tan. There was no better option. So, with great trepidation, I booked a spray tan at a lady’s at home tanning salon and started prepping my skin for it. I kept telling myself: at least the tan will be gone by November if it looks horrible, and if (on the slim chance that) it works out then I can get it redone before the wedding.
I LOVE IT. The spray tan that is. It doesn’t look orange, it looks natural and even, it gives me that amazing sunkissed look that I’ve never had before. The whole experience was so much easier and less daunting than I had expected. This was mostly because I went to a place that uses Naked Tan – a product that only needs to stay on the skin for 2 hours. This meant only feeling sticky for a short time, and showering before bed so it didn’t get on my linen. I did get it on my bath towel, but the product is water based and washes right off anyway. Too easy!
I will now be getting a tan before the wedding, and it will help me to feel somewhat fabulous (or as fabulous as possible in an otherwise unflattering dress). Unfortunately I have been completely lacking motivation in my efforts to loose weight and fit into the dress – but I’ve had a lot of things going wrong lately so have generally been feeling down. I’m hoping I’ll snap out of it soon!
If anyone else out there is avoiding a spray tan because they are a chicken, use my story as your inspiration and go and try it! I can't promise it will work with your skin tone and colouring, but it only lasts a week anyway (and less if you have hot showers and exfoliate).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Collect Teapots

Yes I do – collect teapots (and coffee pots, if I fancy them). It all started with this beauty, the cutest vintage teapot that I once picked up at an op shop:

 Found: Op shop in Perth. Cost: $8
It’s still my favourite, but I am slowly (but surely) building the collection. I don’t buy *just any* teapot. I have to love it, and I am actually pretty fussy (plus, I hardly ever have time to op shop, and I don’t like buying them at normal stores – the fun is in the chase).
My current collection includes the following:
 Tea for one- this comes apart in 3 pieces:
 Found: Op shop in Perth. Cost: $4
  Found: Op shop in Canberra. Cost: $2.50! This is my 2nd favourite find.

  Found: Garage sale in Canberra. Cost: Free - they threw it in with my purchase of a microwave when I mentioned I liked it!

  Found: Op shop in Queanbeyan. Cost: $4

 Found: Op shop in Queanbeyan. Cost: $6, including 5 cups and saucers
This gorgeous retro coffee pot is currently being used as a decorative flower holder:
 Found: Op shop in Goulburn. Cost: $5 for the coffee pot, sugar jar and 4 small mugs

What do you collect? Or are you of the group who don't like clutter or dust collecting objects?

Linking up with Sophie's Library Adventures and Apron Thrift Girl.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bub and Cat Toilet Training - Like Mr Jingles from Meet the Fockers

The Litter Kwitter is a kit used to teach cats to use the human throne. We have just ordered and received said contraption, because I am sick of smelly kitty litter. I am even more sick of our kitten using the bathroom sink as her toilet (okay, so this happened once... but it was so gross!)

You start by using the red toilet casing, which you fill with kitty litter. Then you progress to the orange casing, which has space for kitty litter just around the edges. Then onto the green, and finally just the toilet seat.

I do find the following gross and weird, but it gets to a point where daily litter box cleaning gets old. It might become a regular sight in our house, if we succeed with training:

I will not be using the same toilet as the cat. I draw the line there. There will be the designated "cat toilet" in our house, and if she starts using other toilets, we will deal with that if and when it happens... I don't want to jump the gun, this whole training thing sounds a little too good to be true and still freaks me out! I'm sure she'll make a huge mess of the bathroom too once we start trying it - even though I shelled out $60 for the product, I'm now having my doubts about whether I'll have the confidence to try it...

Does your cat use the throne, or do you have one of these?
Kittyagogo designer litter box

In related news, we are currently doing night time toilet training with Bub.  She was definitely ready - having dry pullups in the morning and all those signs. We are mostly dry - the first few weeks we went from having 2-3 wet nights per week, to 1-2 wet nights and now it's even less. The frustrating thing is that when she wets the bed, she will do it 1-2 hours before wake up time. Although she can hang on until the morning pretty well, she hasn't yet woken up and gone to the toilet by herself (or called out for us) in the middle of the night or early morning. So it seems to be all or nothing at the moment... but we're getting there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things that have made me chuckle lately

Things that have made me chuckle lately...

(1) An email I received from Tiger Airways, stating:
Corrective Notice On 10 August 2011 Tiger Airways issued an open letter to all Australians from the Tiger Airways team. This letter included the statement "Since we haven't been flying, our competitors have raised their fares by more than 30%". Following an investigation by the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Tiger Airways acknowledges that it did not have a proper basis for which to make this statement and as such it may have contravened the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) by making a false or misleading representation.
Tiger Airways would like to retract this statement and apologises for its conduct. 
  Another FAIL for Tiger Airways... 
Source: Cracked.com

(2) This photo of Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott, which shows the importance of pre-planning of political visits and photography. 

(3) This thread on the RiotACT, calling for ideas for a new sitcom about public servants. Since I have been working in the Australian Public Service (APS) this year, these really made me chuckle, because they are realistic than you would believe. My favourite comments/suggestions:

*  Include a storyline where a courier working in the Department of Defence wears a red nose on Red Nose Day and has somebody file an official complaint. The courier is then dragged through a two week investigation, interviews are held with everybody involved, the complaint is upheld, the courier is formally reprimanded and the incident is used as justification for annuling the courier’s appointment a few months later. Hold on, that isn’t scriptwriter fantasy, that actually happened and the courier was me.

* A bunch of people breaking a new building by taking up Zumba

* I once knew someone who tried become a specialist wholesaler/middleman/importer(?). Details are scant, but he was in the APS and concurrently trying to get rid of ~$60,000 of coffee. He was approaching cafes, supermarkets etc directly & probably wasn’t successful (he only ever managed to service small orders). He joked that he might be drinking the coffee for the rest of his life! He may have had to work in the APS to get by because his ‘worldly assets’ were beans. This required the usual reams of paperwork to declare concurrent employment. I wish I knew how/where he kept it (his garage?)…

* the housing situation, especially for graduates and Uni students. I’m aware it’s similar in Sydney and Melbourne, but there are many young people who try to get around to all of the Open Houses on a Saturday using buses. It is rather funny seeing the same group of people turn up several weekends in a row, and a good way to make friends after a while.

* The use of consultants to do anything more complicated than dot points, and the need to spell out for them (a) not to write anything which the answers are not already known about, and (b) the disappointment from public service managers when they discover that said consultants will deliver the bare minimum required to justify their fee (probably written by the work experience kid).

*  I once sat in a meeting where a consultant got confused and thought the painted wall onto which a projector was aimed was a ‘smart board’, and annotated a slide with a permanent marker.

* An ill-judged All Staff email being forwarded to the Daily Telegraph for national derision; stress leave. (News article - real story)

* Waiting one and a half years until the next election so you can write back and say: “Sorry, we’re in caretaker mode.”

* How about being tight with money all financial year, and then at the end the entire division spends money on copious catered planning meetings, team building activities and artworks for the office in order to prevent their budget being cut for the next year…

* We can’t leave out the chick that sued her department for compo when she got donked on the head, while having sex in her hotel room, when travelling for work (News article - real story)

* Unlucky in love public servant meets chick at grad party – sends lame email to whole Department about meeting the love of his life – but turns out chick cant even remember who he is or meeting him. (This actually happened in the Canberra APS...)

* The public service isn’t complete without under performance. There is the 54-11 manager cruising to retirement (or a consultancy), the person who has been promoted beyond their capabilities, the person who is incompetent, the person who is being underutilised, the person who has been screwed over, the person who is milking their wage, the person who has just stopped caring and the list goes on and on…. Almost every character in this TV show could be an under performer in a different way.

* Be careful who you slag off = you may be talking to his/her current or ex partner. Also, dynasties in certain departments = be careful who you slag off, you may be talking to their son/daughter, mother/father or brother/sister etc…

* How about an EL2 (Executive Level 2 = managerial level staff) who, when it all got too much for her, simply dropped files down the lift well then denied all knowledge of the issue.
And when confronted about it and shown the security videos, still denied it.
Yes, she’s still an EL2.

* My own example (partly covered by others): – working on the planning for the redevelopment of an large-scale database system I wrote heaps of doco outlining the various alternatives, costings and time-lines. Then the consultants (from a well-known IT company with close links to the department) arrived – one spent most of his time big-noting himself, telling everyone how fast his car was and how expensive his collection of wine was. The other one was OK (in that he wasn’t a lazy braggart), but it was apparent that they both were mainly concerned with collecting any existing doco on the proposed redevelopment rather than doing any detailed investigations of their own.
Sure enough, when the report came out, most of my work was in there, word for word, along with the unchanged costings and time-lines. The consultancy firm was basically paid tens of thousands of dollars to plagiarise my work.

* Team meeting: team leader once asked if any matters needed to be brought up. A disliked guy (secretly nicknamed “the great poof”) complained about “chumminess in the office”. He was disgusted that 2 girls had hugged when saying hello one morning (they were friends beforehand). It made him “feel sick” & not want to come in.

* Fitness/life coach; someone left the APS after training to be a fitness coach. APS drudgery has now been replaced with early morning bootcamps for obese public servants. (There are several bootcamps run in the Parliamentary triangle in Canberra before/after work and during lunch... so this probably happened)

* The obsession with extravagant morning teas for any reason at all

*  Standing in kitchens with a cuppa complaining how much work is on but still leaving at 4pm

*  Meetings about meetings about restructure after restructure

*  The footy tipping comp and the heroism of the winner

* What about the mentally unstable alcoholic who was hired via phone interview from overseas to a SES role and submitted her staff to a 3 month reign of terror before being terminated and given a golden handshake consisting of a years salary and a car...
After her reign had ended, the staff were sent off to group counseling conducted by a man named JoJo. Nothing like a bunch of public servants doing yoga in their suits and being asked to make up poems to describe how the experience had effected them.

* In order to get this show off the ground though you do realise that you are going to have to get a Discussion Group together to formulate a Working Party to look into establishing a Project Team to come up with the terms of reference for a Taskforce to produce a submission that will go to a Sub-Committee for their approval to implement something that surely will need to be QA’d by the Secretariat before the Division Head can take it to the Department Committee so a brief can be written to the Ministers Office to tell them something that they really don’t want to know about and will not approve….

* Or the well meaning ASO5 who, when explaining to a female colleague how to assemble a display stand, said: “Just take this rod with the male thread and screw it into the female thread on that rod . . . “.
Next thing he knew he was explaining himself to the Sexual Harrassment Contact Officer, followed by counselling from his director.
I know, because I witnessed the incident.

* The ASO 6 who missed out on the job she had been acting in for 18 months and refused to come into work for 7 weeks, they relented and gave her the position.

* Looks like most of the respondents to this post are pubes, judging by the the fact that the post times are 75% during work hours [I bet the rest of you claimed OT for your efforts]. That means at an average of 10 minutes for everyone to read the story and think of a response, there were 9 hours wasted in total so far, with say a conservative hourly rate cost to the taxpayer of $50/h equating to $450 overall thus far.

* The woman that didn’t like the smell of bananas in the workplace, and the effort it took to resolve the issue. (True story, actually happened - see RiotACT archives)

* Change of governments, being fired on the friday, and being rehired as a contractor on the monday.

* Try this true story: staffer inadvertantly CCs an email to a list addy that actually goes to every staff member in the department. The ensuing streams of “Please remove me from this list” emails followed by hundreds of “Stop using Reply All” emails while replying to all that quite literally bogged down the entire network for over an hour (yes even worse than how the internet melted down when Steve Irwin died). Followed by a mini reburst the next morning from people who weren’t there on the day…

* A Section bringing an a non-ongoing APS 4 for a couple of months to help the Section catch up on it’s filing, only to have the said non-ongoing APS 4 ask (quite seriously) at the next weekly Section meeting if anybody had considered having someone come in to help them with their filing

* A young graduate lawyer with a passion for fighting censorship who hears the US President is looking at ways to censor the Internet. The young grad Lawyer then finds via a web-search the e-mail address for the US President and immediately fires off a ‘nasty-gram’ likening the President to Hitler and Stalin. Hilarity ensues when he is called to the Departmental Secretary’s Office the next to be interviewed by two visitors from the US Embassy demanding to know why the Australian Government is threatening the President. An all-staff e-mail follows within 15 minutes of the end of the meeting reminding all staff that all e-mails sent from work end in ‘.gov.au’.

*  APS 6 who has been acting for a couple of years at EL1 level and getting perfect feedback goes for interview for own job and misses out to someone who then needs to been trained by the APS6. After a few months promoted person moves on, EL1 position is not filled but APS 6 still has all the responsibilities as before.

If you laughed at all of these, you must have worked in the public service...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Brunch Review: Urban Pantry

Last weekend I had brunch at Urban Pantry in Manuka. I had heard a lot about the great food here and the not-so-great service (because apparently they're "so popular" that they "don't care about service") so I was intrigued, and looking forward to checking it out.

English Kedgeree w/ spiced jasmine, poached salmon, cherry tomatoes, topped w/ poached eggs, on toasted rye - $19

Omelette w/ prosciutto, capsicum, olives, vintage cheddar & rocket, served w/ chilli jam & toast - $18

The Scoring

Menu variety / creativity: 6/10. While there were a few creative options (we chose just about the only two), I would have liked more variety and a more inspiring sweet option.

Taste: 6/10. The English kedegree was tasty, but not taste bud popping spectacular. It was a little oily, and I don't think the rice went well with stodgy rye.

Coffee: 6/10. Mine was more warm than hot and the taste wasn't spectacular.

Setting / location: 9/10. Lovely decor inside, and if you sit outside (as we did), it's warm and dry if the weather is wet (with plastic sheeting and outdoor heaters) or sunny and fresh if the weather is fine (as it was on our visit!).

Service: 6.5/10. Staff were disorganised and kept bringing us the wrong items, asking if they belonged to our table. We always had to attract someone's attention to get our orders taken but there were plenty of staff around. Not particularly friendly or smiley service, but not rude either. No mistakes with our orders, and they came out together and quickly.

Final score: 33.5/50 = 67%

Verdict: I'd like to return to sample the lunch or dinner menu, but I probably wouldn't return for brunch.

Brunch review: Milk & Honey

Milk and Honey is a cosy cafe located in Civic. It was absolutely bustling on the day we went, as it was a long weekend Monday. The sun was shining but there were only seats available inside. I had:

 Gypsy breakfast - white beans, chorizo, tomato and spinach with a poached egg and toast - $16

The Scoring

Menu variety / creativity: 8/10. Plenty of creative and delicious sounding savoury options. The only sweet option was 'american hotcakes', which was dissapointing.

Taste: 7.5/10. The bean mix was very tasty and had a good amount of chorizo in it, which added a bit of spice. I would have liked the chorizo to be more finely chopped, to give the mix a nicer texture. What brings this meal down in score is the poached egg, which might as well have been hard boiled - no yolk to be seen!

Poached egg FAIL!

Coffee: 6/10. Just okay.

Setting / location: 6.5/10. Inside it's a bit dark, crowded and musty, and there is not much outside seating ( even then it's all in the shade, and looked squashy).

Service: 7/10. We were at a far away table but were not forgotten - staff were attentive and came promptly to take our drink orders, then meal orders and then to inquire whether we wanted any more drinks.  Not particularly friendly or smiley service, which always gets extra points. No mistakes with our orders, and they came out together after a 30 minute wait.

Final score: 35/50 = 70%

Verdict: This place has potential, and I'd like to return and try my luck on a different menu option. Maybe just not on a sunny day, where better venues abound ;-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beyond Canberra: Amazing Goulburn Op Shops

A girlfriend and I decided to drive to Goulburn for a day of giant concrete ewe spotting:

Note the gathering of locals on bikes!
Cruising the quaint streets with lovely old buildings:

And of course, OP SHOPPING! 

Firstly, because I am a super helpful person (and super modest ;) here is a list of the Goulburn op shops that I visited, and some reviews:

Australian Red Cross Clothing Shop
146 Auburn Street. Goulburn
Don’t bother with this place. They try to be “upmarket” and have prices to match, but not the goods. I saw several ‘Expression’ (Kmart brand) products with prices ranging from $15-$20. They were probably cheaper new! I didn’t see anything worthwhile, nothing retro/vintage, and the prices are sorely inflated. For example, $13 for a used straw beach hat (no brand name). In a town with so much competition, I’m not sure how this place survives. The only shop where neither of us bought a thing!

Big Heart (Mission Australia) Op Shop
Shop 2, 148-158 Sloane Street. Goulburn
This was my favourite oppy – so cheap and such amazing retro crockery. They charge by the kilo for clothing ($5 per kilo)- my friend found an amazing vintage skirt and it cost her... wait for it.... 70 cents! Crockery was priced between 50c and $5, and books are 5 for $2.

Salvation Army — Red Shield Family Store
123 Auburn Street, Goulburn
This place is reasonably priced with sale racks up the front (vintage blouses for $1 when I was there). They have a large range of crockery and bric a brac, which unfortunately is mostly unpriced. You are at the mercy of the staff member who makes up a price on the spot, which I find a bit frustrating. Definitely worth a look see and on the whole the prices are good.

Smith Family Store
Ellesmere Street, Goulburn
This place had the best retro/vintage stock of everywhere we visited. I picked up my stunning 80s dress for a vintage ball there for $12, marked down from $25. They have a really large range of clothing, with less bric a brac. Clothing prices range from $2 - $10, with vintage items up to $25.

St Vincent De Paul — Vinnie’s Centre
Central Arcade (opp. Post Office), Auburn St, Goulburn
Friendly staff and standard prices, mostly ranging from $3-$10 for clothing. They didn’t have much crockery or bric a brac in stock on my visit, it was mostly clothes. 

Trish’s Trash & Treasure
1 Fenwick Cres, Goulburn (entry from Bradley St)
From the outside, we expected this place to house mostly furniture but inside we were surprised and amazed at the treasures it holds. Plenty of crockery, a lot of it dusty and dirty and you need to sort through it all to find the gems... but find the gems we did! The prices are very reasonable – my tea set (tea/coffee pot, 4 mugs, sugar) was $5. The prices varied though- I was surprised to see that a vintage Willow tray in very poor condition was $20. My friend picked up some hand painted pie dishes for $2 apiece.

And now (drumroll please....) for the day's finds:

Handpainted baking dishes, $2 each. Lemon water jug, $1. Tea set + potholder, $5.
Coffee set (pots, mugs & sugar holder) $5, Tasmanian pottery teabag holder $2.

Mushroom jar $2, strange pottery piece 50c.

Pyrex 50c! Arcopal France bowl, 50c.

Vintage bag $3, Johnson Australia Pottery bowl 50c.

 Hens party / wedding gag g-strings, 50c each.

Yellow stripe water jug $1, Op shopping bag {>>

Lambada leather tote, $10

 Unusual felt & knitted framed picture, $3

 Vintage orange skirt, 70c!

The most spectacular find of the day is yet to be posted, it's an amazing 80's dress that I'll be wearing to a vintage ball very soon... I will post photos after the event!

Linking up to Sophie's Flea-market Finds and Apron Thrift Girl.
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