Competitioning - December Prizes @ Monday, December 31, 2012

I like to enter competitions, though not to the point that I can list it as a hobby on my dating profile resume. Does anyone want me to write a guide on the sport of competitioning? I mainly win tickets to plays or events, but I do also win stuff, like huge boxes of soup, and make-up (though not so often). Here's what I won in December: 

Stef Collections $30 Vouchure.
Competion Type: Random Draw
Chances: 1/57 or 1.75% 

 Tee Jay Notebook
Competion Type: Random Draw

Imax 3D Tickets to 'The Hobbit'
Competion Type: 25 Words

A Box of Cosmetics from Bloom
Competion Type: Find item. Instagram it. Random Draw. 3 Winners.
Chances: 100%. Only 3 entries.


Kids Paint Set*
Competion Type: Unknown. Either random draw or 25 words.
Chances: 50%. I was the only one who entered, they could have cancelled it.

*It came with a blank canvas.

Mocha Jo's @ Monday, December 31, 2012

For my birthday every year we do yum cha, but this year with half the family away we didn't. That and it's always a rush to get to yum cha somewhere far away, I like to start the 26th at 7am shopping and yum cha is set at a certain time so that everyone there for that sitting gets to pick things off the cart.

This year by random selection and lack of planning ahead and making reservations, we went to Mocha Jo's. I had it on my wishlist as place to have brunch, with one of their lunch boxes. But we went for dinner instead, as I spent the morning shopping. We shall be back for another review, perhaps.

As it's the holidays everyone's super busy, and so we had Andy for company, who wouldn't be caught dead with me. Story is that he's popular and I'm someone most people don't want themselves to be associated with. When they see me coming, they'll cross the street to avoid me - that's if I went outside.


 Andy ordered a Cappuccino (4.40) as always.

I ordered the White Hot Chocolate w Marshmallows (4.50). It lovely, sweet but not too sweet, though I do think I detect a hint of powder, rather than actual chocolate. Nevertheless I would recommend it.

 The Menu

MJ Beef Burger 20.00
100% prime beef pattie, fresh tomato, melted tasty cheese, 
crispy cos lettuce, onion jam, chunky chips, house mayo

Andy doesn't like to try new things and so he went with the burger and fries. He says it was good, though he doesn't eat out much and is a happy camper with Hungry Jack/Burger King, he says he'll stick to Burger King. The fries, chunky cut seasoned with salt was very good though, I'd order them again. It came with tomato sauce and sour cream for dipping. 

On the other side I ordered the Chicken & Mushroom Risotto (21.50).It was bland. There was no flavour - other than the parmasen at the top. Andy's chunky chips with salt had a lot more flavour. For the price that they charge I expected much better, I know it's a cafe and not fine dinning, but still it should be better. While the cooking method was fine, it was just the lack of flavours that was the issue.

Service ranges depending on your waiter, but overall the staff are friendly. Though I'd take off a few marks for the dirty teaspoon that came with the hot chocolate, I asked for another and it was dirty too. Not impressed. So hygiene may be in question.

The bottom line: go for the atmosphere, for coffee or hot chips, but not for a meal. This place is known for their coffee, and atmosphere, and that's all their is to it. For lunch or dinner there are much better places nearby. For burgers and chips there's Hook, Liner & Sinker across the street, and the Pancake Parlour if you're looking for something familiar. 

Mocha Jo's on Urbanspoon

Birthday Offers @ Monday, December 31, 2012

Those VIP cards that every fashion/food retailer offers these days, are usually just another card to cram into your wallet. Most cards do nothing - unless you spend a week's wages there, but there are some cards worth signing up for. Places that have birthday offers, here's the full list. To maximize the use of the offers it's best to go the city, where most of the shops with offers will be.

The best offers: 
- Baskin Robbbins, Boost, Subway, Brumby's, Salsa, 7 Eleven, Muffin Break, Chatime, Ferguson Plarre, San Churro.  
- Sumo Salad (note to get this card you need to buy something), same with Mimco.
- Urban Burger & Cold Rock - BOGOF
- Priceline, Witchery, Spotlight, La Senza, Jeanwest, Sava, Sportcraft, House, Katies, Crossroads, Kikki K.

Unfortunately with the food ones they're only redeemable on your birthday (except 7 Eleven & Salsa), but with the others you usually have about 30 days. On my birthday I got a free boost juice (b'fast), burrito from Salsa, ice cream from Baskin Robbins (lunch) and Subway (fresh rather than toasted, tomorrow's lunch). One of the best offers is Churros, but I didn't go the city that day. Here's the offers I did claim:

Sportscraft $20 Credit. With the VIP discount I got this notebook for 6.20. 
Do use your address/PO when signing up, as they'll send you the $20 card.

 Kikki-K sends an email with a bar/code for $10. 
Picked two pens as I didn't really need another notebook, or wedding planner.

 Food Offers - Boost & Salsa
$20 from Sportscraft & $25 from Saba
Witchery & Mimico also offer credit on their cards.

Do you redeem your birthday offers?

Boxing Day Sales 2012 - Part 2 @ Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lush has an annual 50% off most of their xmas stock on Boxing Day, as well as a sale on some of their other stuff like those things in the dropper bottles and some other stuff in black containers. As I had my eyes on the 'prize' I didn't take too much notice.

 House of Fun Gift

I got there at around 8.15 and there were already about 10 girls standing around. Last year they opened at 10.30, fortunately this year they opened at 9am. After much analysis I think opening at 9am is better than 7am when everyone else opens, that way you have time to shop at other places first. I've tried and I can assure you that you can't be in two different places at the same time.

 Christmas Eve Gift 

As soon as the door opened girls swooped in, like boys tackling for the ball in rugby - except that I don't think anyone got hurt. It was just a classic female frenzy behaviour at a sale, everyone pounced at the front table which had about 10 small 100ml bottles of Snow Fairy. There was pushing and shoving and people at the front being squished as other behind them attempted to grab the last bottle. Three tried to get the lost bottle, I got it! At first I was only going to get one, but then there was that second of opportunity, and I couldn't resist.

Snow Fairy Shower Gel 100ml/5.00

While a group was fighting over Snow Fairy, the other girls ran literally (said the SA) to the gift packs wall. Tip: While in line form alliances, as long as you don't say you're hoarding all the gold (strike) Snow Fairy, it'll go well. Team work, you can grab the last few of item x, while she gets y, and then you share the loot. Or if one person's closer to the last couple gift boxes of item z she can pass you one. 

The next half an hour-ish was spent lining up, though it didn't seem that long, as we had company. Discussions about favourite products and recommendations. And a recollection from the SA, of how last year a guy stole a big bottle Snow Fairy from a girl's basket (under the direction instruction of the wife/gf of course, guy don't normally do that kind of stuff) - the SA recommends you hide the Snow Fairy at the bottom of your basket. ;) 

Something I noticed was between the online and offline store was the prices of a couple items. In store the moustache stick was on 50% off, but not online, vice versa with the midnight massage bar. There were quite a few disappointed girls. Fortunately I had ordered mine a couple days ago online. :P

 Golden Wonder 3.50

This is the only bath bomb/product I bought in stores that wasn't in a gift pack. I've read very good reviews about this and was surprised that there was lots left and no competition to grab them.

On Christmas Eve Lush had their online sale, which I unfortunately came too late to and missed half the stuff I wanted. I came upon it on their fb page, which planning for the 26th. Shipping is a flat $9 rate, so unless you're buying quite a few things that you can't get in store for the same price it's not worth it. But for me it was worth it, as I bought two boxes/sets as well as a few soaps/bath bombs. On the day I wouldn't have been capable of carrying everything I bought. The delivery was worth it, because other than my ability to carry stuff, the midnight massage was on sale but not in stores, and I didn't see the soaps in store.

We went slightly over budget, but it did include some items to be gifts I needed to get for 2013. Something I really liked was that with the gift boxes they includes non-xmas/limited edition stuff, like the Shimmy Shimmy Massage Bars and Whoosh Shower Gel, because that stuff is never on sale. 

The boxes are a great value, for example the 'Winter Wishes' box is around $14 and Each Peach bar is worth $7 (note that the box version is half the size of the normal one - pictures are decieving, read the description), the Ponche Gel is 12.50 (in NZ, sorry most of the listings on the site are gone) but I'll count it as $5. And so 2/4 of the items are worth $12 alone. The two soaps would be at least 100g together, and be worth $7.

We bought... for a total of $110*, with everything being on 50% off.
- Popcorn Scrub
- 4x Massage Bars
- 10x Soaps
- 6x Bath Bombs
- 5x Shower Gels

* $10 for delivery

Did you buy anything from the Lush sale? 

Boxing Day Sales 2012 - Part 1 @ Sunday, December 30, 2012

Arriving at 7am at Chadstone it was already quite difficult to find parking, fortunately we had a VIP space reserved for us. ;) As we entered there were people who had already finished their shopping! Mostly people who were buying things for their home, like donnas, other bed things and homeware from Myer & David Jones. 

First we went to Myer, unfortunately Clinque's gift set sales were only online. That and they were sold out of the Christmas gift sets anyway. Everyone had 30% the xmas sets that they had left. Next we went to David Jones to buy A'kin's Rosehip Oil, which was the same price as their online store.

A'kin Rosehip Oil 15.00

After heading to the info desk to identify where all the stores I wanted to go to were, we were lured to L'Occitane, where they had great small gift packs on sale for less than $20. There was more on their online store, but I found out about it after the sale and missed out. *signs up for their newsletter*

I was going to stop by Jurlique, except they decided to have long lines, as they had a limit of x amount of people allows in at a time (to prevent crowds/theft I assume, and to keep their atmosphere calm). Lots of other stores, mainly the handbag/brand names also had the limit, velvet rope, and security.

- picture of lines -
I didn't take any pictures on the day, as the atmosphere was a frenzy and chaotic.

7.30am-ish. My next stop was Lush but they didn't open till 9am (get there at 8am to get a good spot in the front line). Breakfast v2. I went for a smoothie at Boost, berries no ice. As a part of their VIP Club you get a free drink on your b'day. 

The next 45 minutes or so was spent outside Lush were a small line had already formed, but I got good spot near the door. I identified the locations of the stuff I wanted, and found everything except the two soaps. We'll try again next year.

Lush gets its own post - part 2 - as I have lots of pictures, and there was drama. :P 

This year unlike the last I had company, a good thing when you need someone to hold stuff or line up for you. Eventually Emily arrived (couldn't find parking), though there was no hope at Lush for her. Fortunately I picked a gift set for her, a bit of analyzing involved. She said she doesn't have a tub and I wasn't sure if it was literally that, or that she had one but didn't use it.

Shopping with Emily's always well, interesting, as we have very different approaches. She browses and doesn't know what she wants/needs, while I plan a military operations, complete with maps and lots of pictures.

We went to those teenage clothing stores like Dotti, Forever New and Co (for her). Nothing amazing there, they're still having their pre-Christmas sales. I'm not too fond of those shops as a. they rare have my size b. it's rarely quality stuff anyway. What's with all this cheap disposable clothing nowadays? My clothes last forever, with the except of the perfect crisp white shirt, stockings or the occasional dress that pills.

Three Times Lucky

Our last stop was Lovisa, where we spent possibly an hour, mainly trying to get around and line up. I picked up some great value earring sets (5 sets for $5) and had difficulty choosing, Emily helped.

We bought this during round one. 

Emily also bought a strange looking ring (?), but I didn't get a picture of it. With the crowds the DLSR stayed at home. Later on she wanted the earrings, but I got the last one - not for me though, I don't have pierced ears, getting shot through the ears with a needle gun doesn't appeal to me.

We're having a focusing issue...
Round two, I bought a ring. Which I really like. It wasn't on sale, but it's very comfortable, coming from someone who isn't a ring person. The Indian woman in line after me wanted it, but once again I got the last/only one. :) During sales it's really not advisable to wear flip-flops. 

Emily got the last silver cuffs, which she saw the SA wearing. And as we were checking out the woman after us in line enquired about them. :P Third time lucky last. Didn't get a picture as people get annoyed with how many pictures I take to get the shot.  

Finally we went to lunch! I got a free burrito from Salsa as part of their VIP thing, picked the original with beef. It was good, but I still prefer Mad Mex - same price but with better and more fillings. For dessert I got a free small cone from Baskin Robbins. :) Their Rum & Raisin Ice Cream is lovely, even though there's only a hint of rum.   

It was quite a successful day, I got almost everything I wanted and bought presents for upcoming birthdays too (most isn't pictured here :P).

One last picture... something we spotted at Bevilles.

Cotton Candy Christmas Tree!  

2012 Gift Exchange - Part 2 @ Saturday, December 29, 2012


As the post was getting a bit long I've separated it into two parts. The prior was giving, this one is recieving. Like having your birthday on Christmas presents double up, and I don't mean in frequency, I mean the present you get is labelled either xmas or b'day. You don't get two. My birthday is much like that, but it's alright as I don't get Christmas presents anyway, with a generous allowance. This year le beau's family did a gift exchange with me, and someone told them it it was my birthday on Boxing Day, so they also got me birthday presents! :) It's like the family I never had, as I have no memory of ever celebrating Christmas, that and with us family and fun don't mix.

a - le beau. He gave me a French Kiss (from Lush), he picked it from the name :P rather than my method of spending an hour in stores smelling everything. The 2nd thing he got me was on my wishlist - V&R's Flowerbomb 20ml. The 3rd thing he hasn't given me yet, as he says he's ordered it but it hasn't arrived yet. As it's something big it's part of my Christmas present as well as Birthday. He's not giving an hints, other than it's not on my list and he's certain I'll absolutely love it. As le beau's got good taste, I'm sure it's something lovely.

b - Lily. Silver bird on swing necklace, which I love! It was something I took a picture of at a craft market. Somehow Lily managed to track it down. :) Being a make-up expert she has all the recommendations on the topic, and bought me her favourite make-up guide, Amazing Face. She also got me MOR's Lychee Perfume Oil, when we were at DJ's and I wasn't looking. :P And the last thing she got me was a framed picture of Felicity Wishes - my favourite faerie!

c - Helen & Adrian, got me an amazing piece of artwork from Esty. It's an ink drawing of a bunny with a bark (tree) texture. They also got me a Lush Gift Card, which I used during their sale. Adrian said the gift card was hos idea. :P For my birthday they bought me a lovely silver origami bunny! (near the top of the picture, next to the perfume, on top of the candle).s

d - Jas, got me the amazing Gardenia Glasshouse candle (on the WL) and a bottle of L'Occitane's Cherry Blossom EDT, which I really like, except for the staying power (not his fault) it's a light and fresh summer fragrance.

e - Emily, she bought everything offline, so I've got pictures and comments here.

f - Secret Santa, I love doing secret santa with the rule of no food :) (chocolates melt when posted). This year my SS got me Marc Jacob's Daisy which I love, perfect timing too, as I was going to buy it myself. She was very generous and also sent me a giftcard to Dymocks, as she couldn't find the book on my wishlist.

g - Myself. As my birthday is a shopping holiday in Australia I usually ask for cash - if you absolutely can't find something that you know I'll like. Most of the time I prefer something that required analyzing. Hence I tend to get a lot of cash for my b'day. This year by random luck I found V&R's Flowerbomb 100ml on sale, at Target for only $130. It's $160 at Sephora and here it goes for $180 at David Jones.

 Woodland Bunny Sketch from Helen & Adrian

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