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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brunch Review: Cranked Cafe, Leederville

Cranked is one of those places I have walked past 100s of times but have never tried. That changed thanks to the entertainment book- I had a voucher, and I wanted to use it :-)

The Scoring
Menu variety / creativity: 7.5/10. Something for everyone, and some creative options. You can read the menu for yourself at the website.

Taste: 7/10. I had the 'Crank Addict': Two soft poached eggs bedded on wilted spinach with smoked chorizo and sourdough. Finished with home-made tomato jam and shaved parmesan cheese. The eggs were nicely poached and the home-made tomato jam was divine. Generous serving size and plenty of bread. I didn't like the chorizo much, it seemed to be cheap/poor quality. My friend had a "make your own" breakfast - she chose scrambled eggs on multi grain toast with avocado and homemade tomato relish. Yum!

Coffee: 6.5/10. Drinkable but not amazing.

Setting/location: 6/10. The decor isn't anything special but they have a nice big outdoor area for sunny mornings (and it has outdoor heaters in winter).

Service: 7.5/10. No complaints, efficient and friendly.

Price: 8/10. The more creative menu options are around $18, but the servings are very generous. If you have the Entertainment book, use the voucher in it for a further 25% off :-) We did!

Verdict: Nothing special but it was a solid meal with a generous serving size. I'd go back, especially with another voucher!

Cranked Coffee on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sick Pets & Lack of Sleep

On Monday our dog had to have an operation. We picked her up at about 6pm after she had the operation at 4:30pm- and she was still totally out of it from the anesthetic. All evening she was walking around crying/whining, she was restless and wouldn't lie down, tripped over her own feet, almost walked into walls, swayed and her back legs were shaking. It was so sad and scary to watch.

I kept trying to take her outside to go to the bathroom and finally succeeded in getting her to do her business at about 11:30pm. She spent the night pacing around and whining, and when she had somewhat recovered she started barking. My poor sister had to sleep on a mattress downstairs with her like this, as it was the only way to calm her down:

In short, she has kept us both up the past 2 nights and I am now exhausted. She was obviously feeling better last night because she went and slept on the couch, which she absolutely knows she is not allowed to do.

She's not a young dog, and I think this episode made us all think about what will happen when the inevitable happens... Pets bring so much joy to our lives, but the flipside is that they are then sorely missed.

I hope you're all having a good week. I haven't forgotten to draw the winners of my latest giveaway (which ended almost 2 weeks ago)... well I did forget, but now I've remembered and I just need to find the time :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shopping, Dating, Work

I still haven’t found the perfect dress for the upcoming 1920s theme ball, I'm getting desperate! I found one I really like but its sold out:

River Island Beaded Deco Dress

Karen Millen does the most beautiful deco dresses but they're all around $400 on sale, and I can't justify spending that… not until I get a pay rise anyway!

Did I mention that there are some great sales online at the moment? I am still addicted to Asos despite my disappointing last order. I nabbed this dress:

ASOS Skater Dress With Flower Applique

And I'm also eyeing off:

Asos Laguna Suede Ballet Flats with Metallic Block Heel
ASOS LOS ANGELES Point Ballet Flats With Chain Detail

What do you think of them?
You can currently get 10% off sale items at Asos with the code 10SALE, and 10% off at Urban Outfitters with the code NEWSKOOL (and free shipping if you spend $50).

I guess our relationship is official, but I'm still not sure I'm 100% committed. I suppose it's because I'm busy and tired and he wants to spendmore time with me than I do with him. Also this is going to sound weird but I know a lot of people are unsure if the guy likes them and then really happy when he does, but I'm the opposite- as soon as the guy starts getting attached I get put off, it's like the challenge and excitement is gone. It's so stupid of me but I think that's what happens and why I never have had proper long relationships. Maybe it means I haven’t found the 'right person' but I think it's more likely to be my own approach and mindset that's resulting in this.

Work has calmed down a bit. People have been leaving the office at 6pm, which I am told is very unusual so I should make the most of it! Our computer server has been all buggy which has resulted in some wasted and frustrating periods of time – lucky we're not flat out!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Op Shopped

I have been on several op shopping trips lately but have not had time to blog about them. Here are the spoils... :-)

Hand painted hanging frypan with poem for my sister {> - $1 from Save the Children

Cards! These have obviously been donated by a newsagency from excess stock. They cost 20c-$1 each, which is no much cheaper than buying them at retail prices.

 Brand new uplifting quotations book with handmade paper cover - $3 from Save the Children.

 Katies photographic print top- $6.25 (1/2 price sale) from Good Sammy's

 Veronika Maine skirt, $6 from Save the Children

 Flower t-shirt, $2 from Good Sammy's (during 1/2 price sale)

 Weekly organiser ($3) and another card ($1) - newsagency donations rock!

 I wasn't sure about these, but they're brand new and for $1!? who could complain...

 I love this BNWT Target dress, which was $7.50 (1/2 price) at Good Sammy's

 Finally, some homewares. A cute holly hobbie styled plastic cup (50c), some sort of jug which has holes in the bottom (so will be perfect for a planter, but I'm not sure what it was actually intended for!?- $2) and another teapot for the collection ($3). It is missing one of the cups but is still cute- I love the panda pop up head.

Close up of the cup which says "Start each day in a happy way..." - so cute, I'd love to collect the whole set!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Brunch Review: Sayers, Leederville

Ahh Sayers, now I understand what the hype is about!

Menu variety/creativity: 8/10. Lots of very creative options and something for everyone. Impressive.

Taste: 9/10. I was blown away by the roasted mushroom with spinach and fetta on sourdough. The boy loved his potato rosti with poached eggs, bacon and onion jam. The best tasting brunch I have had in Perth - this one is a winner!

Coffee: 6.5/10. We ordered it in mugs which may have been the mistake - it tasted too milky. Perhaps it's decent if you order normal sized.

Setting/location: 8/10. The inside is gorgeously decorated with damask wallpaper, big mirrors and lots of bling. They have a very cute outside courtyard too.

Service: 7/10. A little bit disorganised - some people who didn't have a table were crowding the till, and they kept bringing us someone else's drinks. Otherwise it was fast and friendly. You order and pay at the counter and they bring the meals out to you.

Price: 7.5/10. Smaller servings than elsewhere but the taste totally made up for it. Expect to pay around $18 for the meals and $3.80 for a regular coffee- standard for Perth.

Verdict: My favourite brunch in Perth so far. This one is a keeper! From previous experience, they do delicious homemade cakes for afternoon tea too.

Sayers on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sex, Genes and Rock'n'Roll

A while ago I listened to an interview on ABC Radio National with Rob Brooks, author of the book 'Sex, Genes and Rock'N'Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World'. The book is about how an evolutionary perspective can give useful and interesting insights into modern issues and problems. Brooks is an evolutionary biologist who works at UNSW. I haven't read the book, but it sounds fascinating and I will buy/beg/borrow it soon.

I didn't know that evolutionary biology even existed as a discipline; now I am absolutely intrigued.  Here are some examples of how it informs modern thinking (these are gleaned from the ABC interview and other interesting material on Brooks' website):
  • Statistically, the world's richest people are more likely to have male babies. This may mirror the evolutionary reality that if a female animal is having a bad year or is unhealthy, they are more likely to have female offspring. During the 1960s in China, there was a famine - and a huge increase in the number of female births.
  • Many diseases have a genetic basis. Natural selection has not eliminated the genes responsible because few of our ancestors lived long enough to suffer from most cancers or from dementia. Also, some genes that improve our fitness in early life come at a cost later on. For example, a gene called ApoE-ε4, elevates intelligence in early adulthood but it increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's by 5 to 20 times the normal risk. The new field of Darwinian medicine is showing how many common human maladies are a consequence of the inefficient way natural selection worked on our ancestors.
  • A study by Face Research Lab has found that women in poor health are more likely to have a preference for masculine facial features. Brooks and some collaborators hypothesised that this could be because in poorer countries where health is more likely to be poor, there is also likely to be greater inequality between the richest and the poorest households. It may follow that women prefer the most masculine men where household income and security depends more on male aggression and status. Upon testing this theory, Brooks and co found that income inequality (the Gini index, often used by economists) is a better predictor of variation among countries in preferences for masculinised faces. He also showed that homicide rate is a promising correlate of preferences – with countries where homicide rate is high also preferring more masculinised faces.
  • Evolutionary theory also predicts that a catastrophe is looming in the next decade, as 20 to 30 million more boys than girls come of age in China and India. In many animal species, when males overabound, they often compete so fiercely to court, win and even coerce the few available females into mating that everybody suffers. The same is true when the supply of men on the marriage market exceeds the demand from females.
Are you interested in this type of thing, or does it make you yawn?

Monday, August 13, 2012


"Do you consider yourself to be robust?"

When I was interviewing for various legal jobs, I was asked the question several times. It seems to be the HR buzz word of the minute in legal circles.

They're presumably referring to emotional robustness, or resilience. Whether you keep going despite setbacks, how easily you give up. It's a way to weed out people who crumble under pressure -

"Mental hardiness is the way you interpret what we can call stressful incidents. If you view them as something frightening they’ll probably have a negative influence on you. But if you perceive stressful incidents as challenges you can control to a certain extent, if you involve yourself enough, stress can be a motivational factor,” Hystad explains. Source

Having now survived 6 weeks in my new job, I can confidently say I AM (quite) ROBUST. I have been yelled at, hung up on and given critical tasks well beyond my expertise. It is challenging (and enjoyable) but exhausting.

It has taught me a lot about my personality. Part of the reason why I took this job is because the supervising partner was an asshole in the interview. He basically said "You probably won't make it here, you probably won't be smart / strong / resilient enough... only time will tell whether you have what it takes". He made me angry, and I saw that as a challenge. 

Although I'm proud of how I've coped so far, I'm terrified that I won't be able to keep this up. I'm actually not that bothered by the pressure / challenge of the tasks I'm given or the personalities in the office (ie being yelled at). The hardest thing is not having time to do anything other than work, and being constantly exhausted.

Friday, August 10, 2012

1920s ball outfit co-ordination!

In a few weeks time I have a 1920s ball and I need to find something to wear!

The more research I've done, the more I have fallen in love with the 20s. The tones of the era are neutral or dark, and towards the late 20s there was plenty of lace, heavy beading, sequin and feather detail on the dresses and in the hair. The 20s is also associated with fur collars on coats, the mary jane heel, gaudy bangles, pearls, tassle earrings, cloche hats and elaborate headpieces...

I bought a dress on Asos for the occassion but returned it. In fact, I have found almost all of my recent Asos purchases to be very dissapointing. I returned 7 out of 9 items from my past 2 orders! I really have got to stop shopping on there, it costs money to return things (Australia Post is not cheap!) - it's such a waste. Have you been happy with any Asos purchases lately? Maybe I just choose badly!

Despite the Asos dissapointment, I am loving online shopping. I don't know how people survived before you could buy everything online. I am literally in the office for a minimum of 12 hours per day. It is VERY rare that I get a lunch break. Weekends are jam packed with social events, household chores and quite often, some work as well. As a result, I have had to buy everything online.

The good news is that I now have a parking spot at work. It's costing me $6000 per year, which is a huge amount of money on my stupidly low salary... but I decided I can't put a price on my health or safety. I don't feel comfortable walking to the bus stop when I leave work late at night, and I am spending so many hours at my desk at work, any time that I can salvage to do something healthy (like go for a walk, or to a gym class etc) is very important!!!

I'll keep you updated with what I decide to wear to the ball... :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The World's 20 Most Unusual Restaurants

(1) Modern Toilet Restaurant, Taiwan
This chain of restaurants in Taiwan allows patrons to dine on toilets and eat toilet themed food.

Food is served from a toilet bowl, drinks from a urinal. They also make an ice cream sundae that looks like pooh...

(2) Nyotaimori Cannibalistic Restaurant, Japan
Nyotaimori literally means "female body plate", and describes a non that uncommon (in Japan) restaurant where sushi is served off a naked woman's body. There is one restaurant which takes this even further; patrons are presented with a "corpse" and eat the "insides".

(3) Graveyard Restaurant, India
When Krsihan Kutti Nair started a successful tea stall outside a cemetery in Ahmadabadand needed to expand, he expanded into the cemetry. Patrons eat and drink in between graves (painted green). They don't seem to mind:

(4) Cat Cafes, Japan
Back to Japan where space is at a premium, cat and dog loving patrons who aren't able to have a pet of their own are able to visit these cafes to sip a drink beside the cafe's cats (or sometimes, dogs). These cafes are now very popular in Tokyo's entertainment district, but have recently come under fire from animal welfare groups who say that the animals are being exploited. 

Further research has revealed that there are also reptile cafes and rabbit cafes ...

(5) Restaurant Inside a Coffin, Ukraine
Death + eating seems to be a common theme! This restaurant in the Ukraine is built inside a 65 foot long windowless "coffin". The inside decor is also morbid, with smaller coffins and funeral flower arrangements adorning the walls. Diners are served meals like "Nine Day" and "Forty Day" salads, named after local mourning rituals, as well as a dish called "Let's meet in paradise."

(6) Alcatraz ER Restaurant, Tokyo
Part prison, part hospital, part horror movie.. this novelty restaurant will see you sitting to eat inside a cell, chowing down on dishes such as human intestines (an unfeasibly long sausage in a kidney dish), a penis on a bed of lettuce (another sausage, suggestively carved) and various impossibly spicy delectables. The staff are dressed like doctors and nurses (with some fake blood thrown in for good measure).

(7) DS Music Restaurant, Taipei (Taiwan)
With nurses for waitstaff, the novelty here is that you'll be eating off tables shaped like hospital beds and each table has an IV drip, which functions as a keg (to store your drinks). You can even book a private function in the "intensive care room".

(8) Cabbages and Condoms, Thailand
There are several of these restaurants scattered around Thailand, with the logo "Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy". You may be served by a waiter wearing a condom (on their face and head), and the decor is strictly condom related. Instead of being offered a dinner mint, you'll get a condom to take home. It's all for a good cause - proceeds go to the Population & Communitty Development Association, and one of the restaurant's aims is to promote the health and safety aspects of condom use.

(9) Penis Restaurant, Beijing
From the outside, this franchise looks like any other restaurant with chinese characters and bright lights. The difference is that you come here to eat penis- yak, donkey, sheep, deer and dog are on offer. Eating penis is said to be good for the libido, and for women, good for the skin. 

This one belonged to a donkey...

(10) The Hobbit House, Manila (Phillipines)
The Hobbit House has got to be the most politically incorrect restaurant out there. The decor is said to be inspired by J.R Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. The waiters are all "little people". From the restaurant website:
"Friendly, charming and ever smiling, they are the reason why the bar is what it is today. Every night, you will find them gamely posing for yet another round of photos with tourists and travelers, giving folks back home something to talk about."

(11) The Whale Inside (Dark Restaurant), Beijing; Dans Le Noir "In the Dark" (Paris, London, and Moscow)
In these restaurants, you eat in pitch darkness. Waiters use night vision goggles. According to one company: "The meal will be taken in this environment with the complete loss of vision. By starving one's sense, your other senses are stimulated to full alert - all so the theory goes - and your food will taste like it's never tasted before."

(12) Kinder Kook Kafe, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
At kinderkookkafe (which has an unfortunate accronym, I might add) you are served food cooked by children. The kids also take orders, do the waitressing, wash up and settle the bill. There is some adult supervision, but your food will mostly be cooked by kids (yes - grotty, snotty kids). It's promoted as a "unique children's activity" and unsurprisingly, it is more a place of learning for children than purveyor of culinary delights.

(13) Underwater Restaurant, Maldives
The Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa in Rangalifinolhu houses this amazing restaurant which is actually built under the sea (at 5m below sea level). Diners have a 270 degree panoramic view of ocean life, but it is pricey, and only seats 14 diners at any one time.

(14) Restaurant of the 3rd Dimension, Nuremburg (Germany)
At this futuristic restaurant, meals and drinks are ordered by touch screen at each table and then are transported from above on metallic tracks directly to the table.

(15) Hajime Robot Restaurant, Bangkok (Thailand)
Customers order their food on a touchscreen display and their robotic waiter will whizz into action. The friendly robots will also dance to entertain as they work and go out to collect empty dishes at the customers’ table.

(16) Dinner in the Sky, worldwide
If you have the money (and desire...) you can eat in the sky. You'll dine at a table suspended at a height of 50 metres. These meals have been hosted in the UK, the Middle East, Poland, Brussels (Belgium), Portugal, Brazil, Scotland, Paris, India and South Africa (to name a few!).

(17) Le Refuge des Fondus, Paris, France
Apart from serving delicious fondus, this restaurant is famous for serving its wine in baby bottles. It seems very un-French,  but I'd give it a try!

(18) Disaster Cafe, Spain
An elevator takes customers below ground to a cave-like restaurant. The first odd thing you’ll notice is the staff wearing construction helmets and other safety equipment, and when the food comes, the dishes are a lot heavier than normal. Every meal is interrupted by a simulated 7.8 earthquake (you just never know when exactly it will strike...)

(19) Ninja Cafe, Tokyo
Customers are led over drawbridges and down winding passages to an eating area resembling a 17th century Edo period village. Waiters dressed as ninjas slink about, you are visited by an illusionist mid meal who will perform tricks, and of course the food is ninja themed (whatever that is)!

(20) Igloo Light Cafe, Sweden
Winter is long and dark in Stockholm, so enter the all white, very bright Igloo Light Cafe. Diners are dressed in white, and sit under special lights to get their daily recommended dose of sunlight equivalent. The day's first customers arrive early to undergo an hour of light therapy before work while eating a healthy breakfast.

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