Category Archives: Musings and Moaning

I love to shop…but do the shops love me?

I bought the October issue of Australian Vogue on Monday. It has a beautiful cover featuring a beautiful model called Arizona. But this post isn’t about Vogue..well, I guess it starts with Vogue, but is more about fashion, and shopping in particular. After reading the mag, and being inspired by some of the shoots and clothes featured, I was compelled to head into the GPO in Melbourne. The GPO is my favourite place to shop in Melbourne. Karen Millen, Veronkia Maine, Gorman, (Pandora)…seriously its on my list, Fat, Alpha60, Zimmerman, Sass and Bide, The Dressing Room.

Look at that list! And all in the same building..which on a side note is a beautiful old Melbourne building (used to be the old General Post Office). Worth a visit just to bask in the splendour.

Perhaps what I love the most about the GPO though, is the experience you receive shopping there. Despite the fact that it is a shopping complex…kind of like a mall (lots of different shops in one building), it feels more like a boutique shopping experience. I think its the layout. And every time I have bought something there, I have had a fantastic sales person assisting me, and I have left on that ‘new purchase’ high that for me, only comes when I have had a good tactile, human experience (on top of the experience my bank card has with the eftpos machine).

I’m sure this post had a narrative thread.

Ah, it’s coming back…so I was at the GPO, reveling in the tactile humanness of it all and wanting to try on a stunning orange maxi dress from Veronika Maine. Unfortunately, the GPO store did not have any of the dresses in, and so directed me to their David Jones store. My heart sunk. I’m not a fan of department stores. They are impersonal and overwhelming. You can never find the person who is manning the stand and when you do you basically have to jump up and down, waving your hands and ‘accidentaly’ standing on their feet to get any service. I just don’t get the lovely experience that shopping can provide from a department store. (Here, I must digress and say that the shop attendant who served me at Veronkia Maine David Jones was an absolute babe – definitely the exception rather than the rule).

So, the question I am posing (see how nicely I’m wrapping this up) is..

In this time of retail slump and economic depression, we consumers are spending less and wanting more when we do spend. There is a shift to the small stores with big personality. I want to make friends with the sales assistant (I know she is after my money but I’m like a rich old man with a young hot model as a girlfriend. I know what she is after but it feels so good I don’t really care). I want to come out feeling like I got more than just what is in the bag for my money. So…how are the department stores going to respond to this? And I’m sure it’s not just me who feels like this. This is a developing trend in consumer behaviour.

To wrap this up, I didn’t buy the Veronika Maine dress. It was beautiful. But not quite right, especially on my student budget (sigh..)

 

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Casio Kids ‘Finn Bikkjen!’

Today I was driving along and listening to Triple R. The sun was shining, and Triple R was playing some very rad music, as they tend to do. One song came on as I was driving into Lorne that caused the anticipation building, beverage calling, coursing through my body excitement that only a truly fantastic song can bring about. I wanted so badly to find out what it was called, but being mid song I was getting nothing from the DJ. At this stage stress levels were building, until I remembered Shazam. The iPhone app which listens to a song and tells you what it is, who it is by and provides a link to iTunes so you can download. A million thank yous to the creator/s of Shazam…and technology in general.

This is what it told me. This song is the highlight of my day. Perhaps it will be yours too.

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Hey Good Looking, What Ya Got Cooking?

One of my least favourite parts of the paper is the pull out magazine style booklet that is obviously aimed at women, and contains ridiculous columns about all those things women should be interested in. Cooking, Children, Clothes and Sex. In the most recent one of these columns which I struggled through in a moment of weakness, I was told in a very direct manner that reading cookbooks in bed was extremely unsexy. So unsexy in fact that it will surely be the demise of intimacy in my relationship if this nasty habit is persisted with.

My first reaction was to question whether I was a culprit of this heinously un-womanly and unattractive habit. I’m actually not. But only because I struggle to read anything in bed, cook book or otherwise. My best effort is one page before the eyelids are drooping. In other sections of my day however, I am an avid cookbook reader. And in no way do I see what is so unattractive about reading a cookbook anywhere in the house. As women we are expected to be able to cook but told off for reading cookbooks? Oh, the confusion you cause me society. Is it also unsexy for men to read cookbooks in bed? Or is this taboo only applicable to the fairer sex? And lets be honest, what is so unsexy about reading a cookbook in bed? What if you were to read a cook book in bed…naked? That’s pretty sexy. Or what if the cook book consisted of sexy recipes? You know, like oysters. Or fondue (which is a very sexy way to eat, by the way).

I can think of so many other things that could occur in bed which are A LOT less sexy than reading a cookbook. Wearing socks in bed isn’t sexy. Dutch ovens aren’t sexy. Reading cookbooks shouldn’t be included in this list.

Please, correct me if you think I am wrong. Tell me if you are so repulsed by your partner reading cookbooks in bed that the intimacy is dieing in your relationship. Personally, I would be rather excited if I found my boyfriend propped up in bed with Nigella Lawson on his lap.

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I Strongly Dislike Long Weekends.

This is serious statement, and if you, like me, work in hospitality you will understand the exact level of seriousness with which I write it.
In fact, if you work in hospitality and I wrote the title of this post as my facebook status update, you would certainly hit the ‘like’ button. Although, it might be better if you disliked it, then maybe the two negatives would somehow create a positive. 

Long weekends are in my list of dislikes because, unlike you Monday to Friday, 9 to 5ers out there, I work on weekends. And my long weekends are like your Monday mornings. Busy, depressing, and fueled by a ridiculous amount of coffee. Add to this equation the fact that I work in Lorne, a lovely little beach town where half of Melbourne decide to spend their long weekends, and I’m sure you are beginning to empathise with my dislike. Did I mention that the half of Melbourne who come to Lorne also bring their multiple children, dogs and four wheel drive trucks that have never previously been out of the city and which seem to be quite confused when confronted with real gravel and potholes?

So now you are on my wave of dislike, let me tell you what one of the worst repercussions of these hectic long weekends are for me. 

I have no time to read.

Hence the lack of reviews. I’m not going to apologise, rather suggest that the next time you meet a friend in the city who told you they went to Lorne for Easter Weekend, punch them in the sternum*.

Thank you. Now I can go back to my reading in peace.

*I don’t promise to take any responsibility for loss of friendship or any retaliating punches you may recieve.

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You say you want a revolution?

I needed a new phone so I went to the Telstra store.

For the past few months I had been developing an unhealthy aversion to the iPhone. Everyone seems to have one, I am almost positive that I saw the local homeless man on Fitzroy St updating his Twitter account via Tweetdeck the other day.

So while browsing phones in TLife I was steering clear of the iPhone section and focusing on the one displaying phones which all looked suspiciously similar to iPhones anyway. I approached a saleswoman with a perfectly acceptable Samsung phone (touch screen and all!) and was promptly told that with the same deal as was offered with this try hard iPhone I could get the real thing!* Full credit to this woman’s sales skills, as I was hooked. Without quite realising how it had happened, I was walking out into the sunshine of Bourke St with an iPhone, a big fat 24 month contract and a snazzy red case.

Needless to say I felt a significant amount of guilt at having gone against my building dislike of the iPhone revolution. However I consoled myself with the old saying, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’

And join them I have. In doing so I must admit I am a definite fan. Apple really do make the easiest to use, best looking and genuinely useful products. I have officially converted.

Now, you may be wondering how this blog relates to reading. Lately I have been following the developments surrounding e-readers and the move towards digital books. After doing a fair amount of research on the topic I had come to the conclusion that I appreciated there is a place in the market for e-readers but was an old fashioned print girl myself. This conclusion was not based on any real trial of the product though, and I have since tested it after downloading the free Stanza app onto my iPhone. Stanza is an electronic library and an e-reader designed specifically for the iPhone. It took less than 30 secs to download, cost me nothing and I was suddenly faced with a huge resource of reading material right at my touch screen compatible fingertips. I was impressed. What impressed me even more though, was the readability of the downloaded material. It really was quite easy on the eyes, and I felt as though I was looking at the page of a book. This was on Stanza’s default layout settings but if you don’t share my sentiments there are many other options of layout involving brightness, font, colour, line spacing, margins, how the pages are turned and much more. This discovery has really destroyed my main argument against e-readers, that being their sight detrimental, wrinkle causing readability. Also, in terms of space it is much easier to have all my books stored on my iPhone as opposed to lugging around heavy novels in my handbag. Once again, I have been converted by a technology that I had too hastily prejudged.

In saying this, there are still significant disadvantages to Stanza. To begin with it chews up my iPhone battery, not ideal. Secondly, I am personally quite frustrated with the amount of times I have to turn the page! This seems odd and I have even surprised myself that I am annoyed by it. Even so, I am vexed by this. My concentration flickers with this high rate of page turning.

As a whole, I like it. I can see myself using this application and enjoying it. It will not replace the print for me, though. It is great in short stints, for example, if I am travelling somewhere that I do not want to take a book to. But above all else, it does not completely mimic the pleasure of reading a printed book. I can see e-readers being very popular, but like I have said in another article on the same topic, e-readers will not overtake the print market, instead dominating a market adjacent to and slightly overlapping that of print.

*Did I say the same deal? I meant the same deal plus $169.95 extra for the handset and an extended warranty of $89.95)

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Beach Books

I would like to quote myself:

“Like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire is so complex that I would certainly not class it as a beach read.” (Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire)

Yesterday I was reading at the beach (this is quite a common pastime for a lady of leisure). I was reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest, third of the Millennium Trilogy. It took an hour or so before I realised what was happening. I had adamantly claimed that Larsson’s second novel was not beach material, then proceeded to take the even larger and more complex third novel to the beach with me!

This led me to question what constitutes ‘beach reading material’. I had simply assumed that easy to read, non-complex novels were the only pages accepted on the sand, without really looking into what I read at the beach. Perhaps then it is purely an individual’s preference that defines a beach read.

Although, as much as I love the Millennuim Trilogy, I must admit I had a few issues with my most recent choice of beach reading material. I could only read it while lying on my front, as I found the book a little too heavy to hold above me when lying on my back. This seriously hindered my ’30 minutes on each side’ sunbathing practice. Second, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest is complex, and therefore requires a certain amount of focus and concentration when reading it. Part of the appeal of going to the beach for me is people watching (this is a polite way for me to say I love checking out hot bodies at the beach). Now, this people watching also requires a lot of focus and concentration and as a result I often lost my place in the book as a particularly lovely specimen of muscled and bronzed masculinity wandered across my vision. Ah, the trials of being a lady of leisure.

With these results in mind I could venture to say that the best reading material would be a smaller book, which was easy to frequently leave and come back to. Maybe a collection of short stories, or a literary journal. Perhaps a lonely planet would be a good option. These guides are made up of short, stand alone paragraphs in somewhat of a bullet point style. This is perfect for an often interrupted reading experience, and besides, the sexy boy/girl on the beach will no doubt be very impressed that you are such a seasoned traveler. Who knows, they might even strike up a conversation.

What do you read on the beach? Do you encounter the same problems as I did?

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Inspiration

Every one of my weeks seems to dribble along at a very fast rate, leaving well laid plans and resolutions on the banks.

Every morning I wake up and think,

A whole beach of inspiration

A whole beach of inspiration

“Tonight after work will be an extravaganza of writing.”

And each night, after a long day at work, a run, differing levels of culinary inspiration in the kitchen or dinner out with friends, the extravaganza is more of a washout and I am lucky to squeeze out a hastily assembled blog post, or at best some (self proclaimed and much deliberated) witty tweets.

Sound familiar? Well, I have found a cure.

I was always a little sceptical upon hearing writers speak of certain places or moments that inspire them. I can’t pinpoint the reason for this, but my guess is I had never experienced this myself. I know what time of day I write best and know that I am more productive if I am not connected to the Internet but I have never really had a moment or a particular place which stands out as an inspirational experience.

I spent last weekend with my boyfriend at his house in Moggs Creek on the Great Ocean Rd. It was the most productive few days of writing that I have had in a while! Whether it was the hint of summer approaching, or the contrast with the horrible week I had just had, I was inspired. The beach, the sun and the love all worked together to form a torrent of ideas and words. What interested me was that I have been down the beach many times before, so why hadn’t this happened previously?

Whatever the reason, I loved it and this inspiration has carried over to the current week (although I must admit it is Tuesday already and this blog post was planned for Sunday night). Lets just say I am looking forward to more of the same on future trips to the beach.

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