Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dinner with the Family @ Nandos Family Restuarant Blacktown


Recently we went to to WestPoint Blacktown to watch a movie. Luckily for my family, I got the times mixed up and we were there an hour early, yay for mum brain on a Friday night!! We walked around the Piazza trying to workout want we felt like eating. We noticed the new Nando's Restaurant and decided we would give it ago. The decor and spaciousness was a big draw card just to get us in and decide if we really wanted to eat, but the biggest bonus of the night was bottomless drinks!! We love bottomless drinks and I must say there just isn't enough family orientated restaurants offering this. How many of you cringe at the cost of paying for drinks for your family? If you aren't paying $4-$4.50 for a single drink, you are paying around $12 for a jug of soft drink which will half fill a family of 6's very short glasses. We actually stopped paying for soft drinks in the end. The kids are well trained now, and know its going to be waters all around when we go out. When we told the boys they could have soft drinks I think they almost fainted in shock! Once they recovered we told them it was all-you-drink and they thought we must have had a car accident on the way and were actually in heaven! Jokes aside, this is a great service and really more restaurants should take on this philosophy, especially for families.

We ordered two Supremo burgers, and two Classico burgers. My eldest son chose mild sauce, but this was too hot for him and it was taken back to the kitchen. His new burger had only BBQ sauce and this was devoured with two thumbs up.

My youngest, who is 5 eats like he is 10. I didn't expect him to finish his Classico burger, but polished it off with easy, almost before my husband. Hubby enjoyed his Supremo with Hot sauce, and said it wasn't too spicy, I would still proceed with caution. He can handle the heat. I went for something different. I had the Chicken Paella, which basically translates to Chicken with sauce, onions, tomatoes, and capsicums on a bed of rice.

There is no attempt here to be officially correct. It was yummy none the less. To go with our delicious main means, we decided to order the "Very Large serving" of chips.

In Australian standards, this is correct. On worldly standards, or at least North American standards, the serving size would be laughed upon. Why do we limit our serving sizes to smallish, smaller, and really small? When the rest of the world use, ridiculously big, a littler smaller than that, and at least 10 people could feed on this serving as the smallest size! We could argue the whole health thing, but really, Australian servings are skimpish. Why are we such tight wads with our servings?? Still we ate them and enjoyed them. On a cold Autumn evening hot chicken salted chips were completely appropriate regardless the serving size.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. The service was impeccable. There was no questions when we asked for another burger to replace my son's too spicy one. All waiters smiled and chatted with confidence. We sat in a circular booth with high backs which provided privacy and a bit of a sound barrier which is good for our noisy family. It was a positive experience, and we will be returning for sure.

We ordered:
2 Supremo burgers
2 Classico burgers
1 Chicken Paella
1 Very large serving of chips
2 Refill drinks (yes, we are tight wads! Why buy 5 when we can get by with 2? Think smart and you will act  and save smart!!)

Total : $64.50

PS, we love the decor too!

Friday, April 4, 2014

FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE AT CRAFTSIE

Currently on my shop website, I have a promotion for all new buyers. Shipping worldwide is FREE! Please use code, Happy123. Pass it on to friends and family. Below are some items you will find in more store. I also have bracelets, stickers, and hair clips. All items are handmade/designed by me or other talented artists. Click the banner below to be taken to my store.


As I have a daughter who is almost 13, I know first hand how hard life can be for girls. Not much changes for them, because even when they grow up life can continue to be hard. We are attacked in the school yards, on TV, in Magazines, and in social media. We are too fat, too skinny, too smart, not trying hard enough, behaving too much like men, having too many kids, not having enough kids, or not having any at all, we are too soft, and too hard or tough. It is coming from all directions too not just from the opposite sex, we can be mean to each other too.  The temp tattoos in my store are message tattoos. Designed with tweens and teens in mind, but really suitable for all ages. Wear your message tattoos with pride. Show your world how you feel.

Hope you like what I have to offer and don't forget to use the code for FREE shipping. Happy123

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How did I just get $120 worth of groceries for free??


Let me start by saying this is definitely not a sponsored post in any way shape or form. I have personally accumulated the points and vouchers required to get the above mentioned amount for "free". I'm not sure if I can purely say that I got these for 'free' because I had to shop and accumulate points at Coles and use my Flybuys card in order to get the rewards. That being said, if you shop here anyway, and use your FlyBuy card anyway, then I suppose its just a way of being rewarded. So, how did I do it?

Last week I shopped at Coles and spent over $140. Prior to this shop, I got a Flybuys e-mail offering me a $20 voucher if I spent over $140 which I had to activate by clicking on the link, which I did. So when I did my shopping I got the voucher at the end of my receipt. So that was the $20 worth. The $100 came from FB $ (FlyBuys dollars). You can redeem these via the FlyBuys website and it will cost you 2,000 pts for $10 worth of FB$. I had accumulated over 20,000 pts. Prior to this, I had no idea really what to do with my points but since discovering the FB$ system, I knew this was the best and most useful way to use the points. You can redeem up to $4999 worth of FB$ which really is the best way to use your FlyBuys points in my opinion. I swapped 20,00pts for $100 worth of FB$ and used my $20 voucher to get $120 worth of groceries. It was as simple as that. I also got another e-mail for another voucher this week. So after getting my $120 worth of groceries, I also got another voucher of $10 to take off my next shop of $10.05 or more. Not sure how Woolworths is going to compete with this set up, but I am impressed with this and look forward to accumulating more points so I can swap them for FB$ and if you get an e-mail offer from Flybuys in future, activate all the offers! You never know when it will come in handy!!!

I think this is as close as I am going to get to my Aussie version of Extreme Couponing!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not: Garage Sale vs Ebay vs Gumtree

Now that I am working through my build up of 'stuff ' I am starting to consider what to do with it. Some of it unfortunately will need to be tossed, there is not much that can be done with it. Other items are in good condition and can be used again by someone else. Re-purposing items is really effective. If you can give it away, sell it, or reuse it for something else within the home that is the best way to go.

Pinterest and Google have an endless supply of DIY projects of re-purposing and recycling things you have around the home. You will be endlessly surprised as I always am at what people do with things around the house and a lot of the projects aren't too time consuming or difficult.  

The other option is to sell items that are in good condition or give away to charity. If you want to sell your items and make a little bit of money, what is the best thing to do, have a garage sale or sell on Ebay? In my personal experience and opinion I think both can be done. You also have the option of Gumtree which is very well known. However, there are some things to consider in your planning.

With eBay, I would sell clothes, and smaller items that can be posted. With bigger items, I would suggest you sell only the items which could fetch a better price through the eBay auction method. If you don't care what you get for your item, you just want it gone, then I would suggest you go with Gumtree, a garage sale, or Buy it Now or Best Offer on eBay or give it to a charity.  From my experience with Gumtree, most people are searching for a bargain. They are looking for something cheap which is much the same as a garage sale, although with a garage sale people are looking for dirt cheap prices!! On the other hand, with eBay you are competing with a range of buyers and many get caught up with the thrill of the auction and can spend more than they had planned. There are others who just want the item so bad, they are willing to pay just under what they would if they purchased at retail. That being said, I have seen some items go for beyond retail  even items that wouldn't be considered collector, vintage, or antique. If you have an item that you are not sure about the value, you can always research it on eBay and see what like items are going for or sold as a guide.
Selling larger (pick up only) items on Ebay requires some patience. You have to meet with the needs of your purchaser/winner. Be clear in your description that the item/s must be picked up within a certain time frame. Otherwise you could be arranging and re-arranging for weeks. The same kind of patience is needed with Gumtree. Using either basically means that the selling period can go on for some time. A garage sale on the other hand, happens within a day or two. What you can't sell at a garage sale can go on eBay or Gumtree if you wish to try and make some money. Or you can try on eBay first, then have a garage sale with anything that is left. If there is still items left, then you should really let it go and give it away to a charity.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to what you are willing to put into it. All of these options take up your time. You have to ask yourself, how much time do I have and is it worth my time to try different things?

Waste Not, Want Not: The 12 month Savings plan



I don't like saying, "New Year's Resolution", but I suppose this is kinda like that. Instead, I like to consider it my goals. My goal for 2013 was to find a new family home, which we did. We moved in Nov 21, 2013. So we just snuck in. But really it was an absolutely stressful year trying to get one house ready for sale and purchase another within settlement time and within budget, which for Sydney prices is really, really, really, hard!! No really, I can't stress enough how difficult and emotionally draining it was to try and purchase a house last year. The market is so competitive, and there is always someone who acts like they have an endless supply of money ready to spill out on the house you also want! Anyway, we did it, and we are very happy.

So this year, my goal is to waste less. It sounds so simple when I read it on the screen, but really when you sit down and start to plan, you realise how much you take for granted and how much you will have to adjust to make sure you make everything you do count for something. So waste less of what exactly? Well everything really. Waste less:

  • Money
  • Time
  • Food
  • Resources
Just the big ones and hopefully other things will fall into place. I will talk about the first on the list for this post and continue on down the list for the others. On Facebook, I saw lots of my friends post and like the 52 week savings challenge. I had a good look on Google about how these work and I thought I could give this a go, but tweek it a little. Hubby gets paid monthly, and while I do work, its casually, so I don't want to rely on something that may not be there if you know what I mean. If you are paid monthly too, this could be of use to you as well. There was no real formula for this, other than I based it loosely on the 52 week challenge and rounded amounts up to the nearest $10. I will also be saving this as cash in a safe place. I think there is more of a chance of it being saved that way but do whatever works for you. The money you save by December can be used for Christmas, school holidays, or could be banked and put towards your home loan, or even kept to be added to. Really it's entirely up to you. I will also add, that during some months you might want to add to your savings and make up for months that might be more difficult. Keep in mind, some monthly amounts may not make sense, but I have loosely based my figures on the 52 week challenge and as some months have an extra week, this will reflect in the amount.  Please just consider this as a guide.

January      $10                  

February     $30

March        $60  

April         $70

May         $110

June         $120

July          $140

August     $170

September  $150

October      $170

November  $230

December  $240

Total:  $1500

I think once you get a taste for saving and you start to see it increase, you start to realise you can put a little more aside and you realise you can do it. Saving is possible.


A year of : Waste Not Want Not

Have you ever wondered what that really means? To waste not, want not? I have a vague idea, though I do use this phrase fairly often. Thankfully no one has asked me for a full explanation! I decided to Google it and get a more succinct idea on how to express it.

proverb

if you use a commodity or resource carefully and without extravagance you will never be in need.

 

Which basically means, if you make good use of what you have, you will not be wanting/desiring more. I had a thought, as most of us do as we entered into 2014 of what my goals could be. I thought of the usual stuff about losing weight, eating healthier, blah, blah! I then started to think about how we had just moved house and we are still getting ourselves settled and unpacking boxes and organising the house. There is still a lot more to do {internally crying}. Unfortunately, we did have quite a bit of 'stuff', despite the fact that we had a couple of council pick ups, and some rubbish tip trips (try saying that 5 times really fast!). Why did we have so much stuff? How was it all building up? Basically, we were wasting things. We bought things not really needing them and left them in the garage to get mucky and we had no choice but to throw it out. I also pick up a lot of bargains, thinking it will come into use at some stage - it must! But really it doesn't, well not always. I forget what I buy, and it just sits in a box in the garage because I don't have a place for it in the house. Really, its a bit shameful to admit but I waste things. I waste money. When I buy bargains, while I may not be spending a lot on the item at the time, lots of little items can build up to be a fair amount and when they are just sitting around not being used, then it's a waste. 

My year of 'waste not want not' encompasses a whole range of things. Not just items that equate to 'stuff' but I've also realised that I do waste money. Like I've already mentioned, I do like a good bargain, but its not really a bargain if I can't use the item. I am going to work on this. If I can't think of what to do with the item, if the clothes don't fit me on the spot - they are not a bargain! I don't know how many times I have seen items for $5 at Target, but don't fit me and I think I'll buy it because it might motivate me to loose weight! Don't kid yourself!! When you lose the weight, that's when you go buying clothes to reward yourself!! Same can go for items at the supermarket and even those crazy coupon sites!! Year of 'waste not want not' is about being weary of everything. Not being crazy about it, but just think about the purchase before you make it. If you still think you need it an hour later, or a day later, then you can go a head and purchase it - well that is what I am telling myself anyway. Waste not, want not, is not only good for your health, its good for you wallet/bank account, and also good for the environment  as less things end up in land fill. So how am I going about this? Well, I will share with you some things that I am going to experiment with this year.  One thing that I have already done is cut down on takeaway foods and unnecessary purchasing of food outside the home. If you have kids, this can be a real killer! Having 4 kids, it can add up when you purchase drinks, ice-creams, lollies, anything which you think at the time is a quick fix to a challenging moment, but it all adds up. If you don't want to cut this out, choose cheaper options as much as possible. I encourage my kids to bring a water bottle wherever we go, something I didn't used to do. Healthy to drink and when they start whining for a drink you can remind them, they already have one!! 

Keep an eye out for my 12 month saving plan which I adapted from the 52 week challenge as we get paid monthly. I have been experimenting with homemade laundry powder, more freezer meal ideas, and feeding my overly hungry family of 6 on a reasonable monthly budget.  Would love to hear from you in the comments if you have any similar experiences and wish to share your ideas.  If I use more of what I have, or spend less on what we need. I really should be wanting less by the end of 2014 - well I really hope so!! Goo Luck to me!!

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