Money Diary (Travel edition): #7 Weekend in Sydney

T had a conference in Sydney from Sunday (night) to Thursday a couple of weeks ago, so we both went up on Saturday morning and had a short Sydney 2-day weekend trip (he stayed on for work while I left on Sunday night). His flights and the hotel were paid for by his work. I don’t have time to organise photos (flying off soon and scheduling this post) but the Sydney Instagram stories are saved as highlights in my Instagram.

Our flight was with Virgin Australia and booked just over a month beforehand. I would personally never leave it so late because it gives me too much stress, but I had to wait for T to sort out his flight before booking mine. $294.63

Hotel was very central (near Town Hall and St James stations, and around the corner from QVB). It was located in a quieter street, in a hidden little building. The hotel was very basic but good value. T went against my choices and picked one half the price so as to use less of the group’s money, LOL. (Paid for by T’s boss; $141.74 (Saturday) + $103.89 (Sunday) = $245.63) (2 nights for 2 people)

We get up bright and early and drive to the airport. I discovered parking there for two days (with a company near the airport, not in the airport itself) would be cheaper than public transport. We arrive at the car park and then take a short shuttle bus to the airport. I will pay when I depart.

On arriving at Sydney airport, we take the Airport Link to St James station. We can use our credit card to tap! Melbourne doesn’t have a train system from the airport and our transport cards and readers are so bad. I’m jealous, Sydney! $17.39

After checking into the hotel, we walk for over an hour to lunch. It took a bit longer because we took a wrong turn and didn’t check our phone’s map for a while. Roads are very complicated in Sydney. We have lunch at Rara Ramen. T picked this one out of five ramen restaurants I shortlisted. The ramen was very average though. We each have a bowl of ramen, share gyoza and a yuzu ramume. $46.70

We were meant to have ramen with my friend but she missed her bus into the city. So we meet up at Koi Dessert Bar, my favourite dessert place! We have chocolate delight and yuzu mango desserts (my friend has some earl grey jar dessert). I’ve had the latter several times in both Sydney and Melbourne’s pop up. $21

We walk to an escape room I booked for T and I. Due to some circumstances, my friend only ended up being in Sydney due to not being able to fly out. I emailed the escape room ahead and they confirmed I could just bring her along and pay the difference when there, as I already paid online. As it turns out, she had already done that particular escape room (there are three), so we say our goodbyes there. $88 (two people)

We walk back to the hotel to chill for a bit. T’s knee is playing up again so we decide to take an Uber to dinner, although it’s only a 20-30 minute walk. $12.37 + $1 (tip) = $13.37

The first thing I did after booking my flight was booking dinner at Chaco Bar, which we came to last year. It is T’s favourite restaurant (ever) because he loves Japanese skewers and these guys’ skewer game is really strong. We get drinks and go straight into skewers. We order three rounds of skewers, including ordering four of one skewer. I also order a second drink, we try a non skewer dish, and finish with dessert. The verdict is to stick with skewers here. We stuff ourselves silly and it’s still not that expensive (considering we had three drinks and we ordered this fancy skewer twice at $24 each). I left a ~$15-20 tip and there must’ve been a small card surcharge. $182.48

T is feeling a little better after taking a break from all the walking, so we decide to slowly walk home.

The next day, we head to Bourke St Bakery (Barangaroo) and share a pie, quiche, croissant and danish for breakfast. $19

Because we “have” to play Pokemon Go Community Day for the next three hours, we decide to Uber to the Royal Botanical Gardens even though it’s only ~20 minutes away as I want to visit the Calyx again and we are running out of time. As it turns out, because of the Sydney marathon, the Uber driver drops us off like 15 minutes away, so we wasted time and money. I’m quite grumpy that the driver just drops us off with not much explanation and we still get charged the full ride as though we made it to our destination. $10.22

I spend about 5 minutes at The Calyx (T doesn’t join), which is beautiful. Entry is by donation. $4

It is really hot and I am dehydrated from walking around. We grab a 7 Eleven slurpee. $1

We have a late lunch at Home Thai, which seems to be highly rated on the Internet, but honestly is some of the worst Thai food I have ever had! We have a grilled pork dish, pad thai and a lemon lime bitters (still feeling dehydrated). $30.50

We grab two lattes at Coffee Pitt and walk back to the hotel. $7

I finish packing up and T gets ready to leave for his conference. I get confused about the trains and why I can’t find the train to get back to the airport. But as I have lots of spare time, I quickly walk down to Sephora to take advantage of the black and gold member 20% off sale. My Mum has expressed interest in a foundation brush so I grab her my favourite one. The shop is so packed I don’t stop to look at anything else. (She ends up insisting to pay me back the $24.80)

I get my luggage and go the train station. I discover the reason Google isn’t showing trains is because the Airport line is down for today. I could take a train and then a bus… but I decide to just Uber because I have no idea how much extra time it will take. $32.73 + $3 (tip) = $35.73

It is a breeze getting through at the airport and I am left with almost two hours! I sit down at a cafe and have a jaffle and ice tea (still trying to rehydrate!) while watching stuff on my phone. $15.10

My flight is delayed and my neighbouring passengers are really annoying and loud. They were clearly drunk getting on and were still allowed to purchase three whiskeys each, for a one-hour flight. I am really put off by Virgin’s behaviour. When I get to Melbourne, I call and find the shuttle bus to take me back to the car park. I pay for parking as I leave. $31.25

Two days in Sydney
Total actual spend: $817.37
(minus hotel as it was paid for by work)
Total actual cost for one person: 294.63 (flights) + $423.80 (everything else) = $718.43 (with hotel and food/drink/hotel/activity/transport costs divided if they covered two people)

What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: September 2019

New in

Chanel CH5368 sunglasses (via Bassol Optic; black with rose gold) – There’s a bit of a silly and convoluted story to this. I love my other pair of Chanel sunglasses. I love the soft cloth pouch they provide so I can stick the sunglasses in my handbag instead of the giant case. I lost the pouch once, purchased one off eBay and then lost it again! I decided it wasn’t worth buying another pouch. But then this summer, I managed to lose the actual case itself (which is HUGE, by the way). It fell out of my full bag while I was running for something. The sunglasses are quite large and don’t fit in my other sunglasses case and basically it just went unused. I occasionally browsed to see if any new pair of Chanel sunglasses interested me (the $100+ it would cost to buy someone elses case and pouch, that may or may not be fake, was not worth it to me). I stumbled across this pair from a few seasons ago and really just wanted it because it’s so cool, regardless if I’d wear it or not. I’m not sure if I’m cool enough to pull it off, haha. It also fit the criteria of having nose pads as I only wear glasses with nose pads now. Ordering with Bassol Optic was a bit of a nightmare but it was basically the only legitimate place online that said it was in stock and would ship to Australia. The website would not accept my order and there was no update for two weeks after I placed the order (so nerve-wracking) but in the end it arrived. It does fit my face (most sunglasses do not) so that was lucky. Anyway that’s the rather stupid logic of my buying a pair of sunglasses I may or may not wear in order to replace the pouch and case for my other pair because yes, I want a pretty (and authentic) case for my sunglasses. €320 – €16 (5% off coupon) = €304 or AU$502.26

Everlane Cotton Mockneck Crop jumper (black/bone stripe; S) – I have this already in the heather grey and I enjoy it for our winters as I don’t need to layer a shirt underneath because it’s cotton. I do wish Everlane jumpers weren’t all boxy and/or cropped and I think the cotton fabric is not that great. At the “choose what you pay” price, it is a practical piece and I was looking for something to help me get free shipping. I chose US$39. See below for total.

Everlane Cotton Turtleneck jumper (dark blue; S) – The reason I wanted to make an order was because this jumper was restocked in black and this new “speckly” blue colour was added. I already own the navy in XS, which I both like and dislike. I like how cosy it is and because it’s cotton, was the only turtleneck I owned and could wear. However the navy colour has quite a bright tone and is very blue rather than the dark navy I had thought it would be. The XS is loose on me but I wish the torso was longer as it kind of balloons a little, so I opted to try the S this time. The S is still not as long as I’d like and the turtleneck is rather overwhelming for my short neck. I do eventually want to get the black as well but am undecided on the size to get. Everlane continues to be quite expensive for the AUD currency. US$68 + US$39 (mockneck above) + US$10.70 (taxes) = $117.70 or AU$174.44

Saba silk sleeveless shirt (preowned via eBay; 8) – Er this is a regret purchase. It was only priced at $10 and then I got that eBay notification when it was reduced 30% to $7. I thought, “eh why not?!”. I don’t like the colour and print in real life and that was my fault because the seller had taken poor quality pictures in bad lighting. The fabric is thinner than my other Saba silk shirts and feels quite cheap. $7 + $8.55 (shipping) = $15.55

Lamberto Losani cardigan (preowned via eBay; grey; M) – I got suckered into this pristine Italian-made Lamberto Losani 75% cotton 25% cashmere cardigan despite the size probably being off. As it’s so lose and has a tie sash, it doesn’t matter that much though. It’s a little thinner than I would have liked but I’m loving how snuggly it is. It washed really well. $55 + $9 (shipping) = $64

Ziera Lennon flats (blush/rose gold; 38) – Yeup, another pair of Ziera shoes! I thought my days of panic purchasing shoes before travel were over, but apparently not. I wasn’t going to bring my grubby Ziera Oahu flats which are falling apart and a pain to tie up. I had anticipated the weather to be warmer where we’d be travelling so originally had planned to bring sandals instead of flats (plus well as runners and boots). Ziera had a VIP weekend with double the points earned. I was already planning to buy these shoes eventually so I just went for it. Just like the Oahu shoes, the footbed is amazingly comfortable with extra cushioning at the heel and sole, and cushioning at the back of the shoe so no rubbing. I have worn it four time already with no problems except the strap rubbing. The colour is nicer in person and the rose gold accents are gorgeous. $249.95 – $7 (rewards) = $242.95

September 2019 total: $999.20

Other updates

Those Ziera Topaz sandals I purchased in July have finally been worn a couple of times. It’s probably a bit high for me so ultimately they won’t be good shoes to spend all day in. The platform is quite skinny at the heel so I do have to be careful not to be clumsy and fall out of the shoe (which I do constantly for most shoes already). The leather rubs and is actually quite painful so I definitely don’t see myself being able to spend long in them.

The Bared Brolga shoes I purchased in June, I have been wearing almost everyday to work. They are really the perfect winter work shoe for me unless it’s raining heavily (then I pull out boots) and look great. I am still upset that they are not more comfortable and the footbed is rock hard. The leather has not softened up either. I walked quite a lot in them a few days ago and ended up with really bad blisters that took a week to heal. I don’t see myself wanting anymore Bared shoes.

A few weeks ago I noticed one of the heels on my Ziera Kylan books boots had worn down significantly at one corner and was causing me to twist my ankle. I knew I wanted these to go with me on my travels as they’re my go-to boots and incredibly comfortable (again with that Pillow Walk footbed). I would buy a backup pair if they restocked these! I took it to my cobbler and thankfully got it back the day before I fly off, though they only repaired the heel when I had asked for the sole to be TOPY-ed too. They had forgotten so I’ll take it back after I return. I was given $5 off the heel repair for that. $20.

I’m parting ways with my Country Road textured spot knit that I purchase just over a year ago. It’s roughly half wool and half cotton but so itchy. Recently it is so bobby and pills really badly. If I wear it, I’m walking around with some 50 pilled balls on me and they also go absolutely everywhere. I’m super disappointed in the quality! I’m surprised because this was recommended by a Youtuber and must be quite popular that it was brought back this year.

What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: August 2019

New in

I did make some online orders that I kept, but they were from overseas so didn’t arrive until September, hence I’ll save them for the next post. I did fail to mention two other clothing items I received in July. They were gifts that were picked for me so got missed when I was going through purchase receipts (though not a good excuse).

Massimo Dutti cardigan (beige, S) – It’s a very nice cotton, silk and cashmere blend, though after an initial wash, is not as soft as when new. It’s a bit brown-toned, which makes me nervous as I don’t like brown. As the arms are quite fitted, I think this will end up being more useful to wear in warmer months when I’m not wearing anything with sleeves. I’ve never tried Massimo Dutti before.

Cactus-print T-shirt from Red Bubble – SUPER ADORABLE present!!! It’s quite fitted on me and the material is very thin, so I’m not sure how often I will wear it, but looking at it makes me happy and it’s not the first “collector” T-shirt I’ve got.

Considered or tried

I happened to be looking at Nique dresses on The Iconic which were on sale. After ordering from The Iconic I discovered they were cheaper on the Nique website. I emailed customer support to request a refund of the difference, but they seemed to struggle with understanding the concept that I had A) ordered the last of the size for some dresses so I couldn’t just place another order with a discounted code they were providing me; B) I didn’t wish to send anything I wanted to keep back for a refund and re-order it with a discounted price (what a waste of time and resources!); C) it was signalling to me that in future I should check all other websites before ordering from The Iconic. After over half a dozen emails, one representative finally got it and said that they would refund the difference for any item I kept. Overall, the service was good but they were too quick to provide the same solution (over and over) and clearly hadn’t read my emails properly. As it turned out, I didn’t keep any of the items. I’d been interested to try Nique because they are a Melbourne brand and have very clean silhouettes and designs. Overall I was not happy with the quality.

The Nique Fumiko midi dress (6) was overwhelmingly long on me, which was not surprisingly. At 50% linen 50% cotton, I was really disappointed with how thin, crinkly and transparent the fabric was. The fabric did not feel like good quality cotton and linen. I think the dress would only look nice if the dress held its shape like in the stock photos. I also couldn’t make the belt work on me.

The Nique Fumiko mini dress (6, 8) is a shorter version of the above dress but in 100% cotton. I only tried on the 8. The silhouette looked quite strange on me and I could see the dress looking quite tatty when it wasn’t pristinely ironed. The cotton was thin and I’m sure it would get instantly wrinkled after wearing it and sitting down or doing anything other than posing for a stock photo.

Finally the Nique Eriko dress (6) was also in a disappointing fabric. The linen was scratchy and sheer, even in black. I didn’t think the cut of the shoulders worked for me either.

My ongoing compact wallet saga continued as I have been planning to make a purchase during our upcoming trip to Europe. I finally got around to the Loewe store because I had my eye on the small vertical wallet (embossed calfskin raspberry, embossed calfskin navy and soft calfskin wild rose/raspberry; the latter was what I went in specifically for). I wasn’t interested in the embossed calfskin until the sales assistant talked me into it. I don’t like embossed or monograms but I don’t actually mind this. The leather is much more pliable and so light. I really like how much it fits and how compact is it, and that the bill compartment is the whole length. This is my preferred compact wallet of choice but as Loewe doesn’t do navy or raspberry with gold hardware (barely anything comes in gold hardware from Loewe, which is really a hurdle for me and this brand), I am leaning towards just waiting to see if future seasons will bring out gold hardware. I don’t want to settle and I certainly don’t want it in ivory. On the other hand, I’ve been desperate to downsize for a year now so I don’t know how much longer I want to wait…!!! Maybe I will cave?

Other considerations were the popular Louis Vuitton Victorine (either black or the fun marine rouge empreinte leather. I must say that in comparison the Loewe wallet, it is not as efficient with the real estate. The bill compartment only spans two thirds, and there is a more “space waste” for the dimension of the wallet. This is also significantly more expensive but I think the Loewe wallet feels nicer. I also went to look at the Lady Dior lambskin mini wallet because of the gorgeous amaranth colour. Again, the wallet didn’t feel as space efficient and rather bulky. It may even fit less than the other two. They didn’t have the colour in stock so I couldn’t see the colour (looks gorgeous online, though). The lambskin leather felt pretty average, and I would probably want to take off the key chain entirely. This one is in distant third place.

I finally tried on the Loewe small Puzzle bag in midnight (it has gold hardware!) since this colour and hardware combination got released. I think the medium is too big for me. I like that it’s heavy (not too much “extra” hardware and leather), though I certainly would give it extra points if it was lighter still (I am sooo picky about bag weight). It may be a little boxy on me. The opening is not ideal but I don’t think it would bother me. I wish they had kept the metal feet but mostly I wish they had kept the thicker shoulder strap. Knowing these changes puts me off the Puzzle bag somewhat, but it is still a beautiful bag to look at.

Other updates

I passed on a Jigsaw navy 100% merino jumper to my Mum. The quality is brilliant, but the long fluted sleeves are lined in silk and I can’t handle having to fold them up every time it was in my way (very often). I don’t really have the patience for these impracticalities, especially when I’m at work. The side slits also meant I couldn’t wear them with mid-rise jeans/pants at work.

Money Diary #6: A more typical week

This Money Diary follows on from the fairly abnormal week prior.

Monday

I pack my breakfast of a hard-boiled egg sandwiched in a slice of bread with sriracha. Lunch is a poke bowl inspired situation with rice, tuna, edamame, takuan, black beans, and baby spinach that I put together in the morning for T and myself (I cooked the rice and black beans the night before). I also take a banana.

I train to and from work.

For dinner, I am intent to use up the last of the expiring milk so I make a blitzed potato soup for T and add milk but I severely underestimated how much milk was left. The soup is a lot more liquid-y than I had planned but T says it tastes fine. I bake some vegan patties we got to try and toast some slices of bread to make little sandwiches with baby spinach and cheese. They’re not spicy as labelled though, so I add some of T’s mum’s homemade chilli sauce and almost die. We also share out some stir-fried yam bean T’s mum gave us (I was introduced to it after meeting T’s family and love it sooo much so she always tries to make some/a lot for me). I also eat a slice of a roasted purple sweet potato instead of the potato soup. On the side, I cook some egg, potatoes and green beans so T can eat that with leftover rice and a beetroot soup in the freezer for dinner tomorrow. I am all about preparing ahead so we don’t eat out (and I know T tends to make less healthy meals when on his own). I enjoy cooking and he doesn’t so I’m happy to plan and make meals.

Tuesday

It’s tutoring day. I made sandwiches (it was super inconvenient having a tupperware lunch last week so from now on it’ll be sandwiches on Tuesdays) with baby spinach, egg, ham and cheese for us both. I also bring a banana and apple just in case. My breakfast is another hard-boiled egg sandwiched in a slice of bread.

I get to work and then leave at 11 for the university. I eat my sandwich without drama and tutor for three hours (12 to 3). I do leave my trusty water bottle behind though and the unit coordinator doesn’t see my message to locate it when all the workshops finish at 6pm. I’ve been using that bottle at work for like five years now and I’m quite sad. (I locate it in the same spot I left it at a week later – hurray!)

After I finish at 3, I drive to my parents’ house to work (they are roughly halfway between the university campus and the city). I eat dinner with mum – fried fish, japchae, stir-fried green beans and potato, and a tofu dish that is way too salty. She pays me back for the sim card and a phone holder for the car I got her, minus what she paid for some Costco goods I asked for. I set up the sim card for her but it is problematic and she ends up without a working sim for almost 24 hours. I pick up the two Sephora Favourites (skincare) boxes recently released that I shipped over to my parents (I despise that Sephora does not ship to parcel lockers) and am horrified by the size of the parcel box compared to the actual boxes of product, which themselves are enormous compared to the actual products inside. I give my Mum some of the products that I’ve already tried or don’t see myself using. I also order some gardening thing from Germany on eBay that my Dad tasked me to buy on a piece of paper. It’s about $200 and half of it is shipping, LOL.

Wednesday

I make an egg with two falafel balls to pack for breakfast and also bring a banana and apple. I make T the same sandwich as yesterday.

I train to and from work today.

Our department goes out to eat lunch because one of our members who works for us overseas is here for two weeks. I have a chicken and avocado toasted sandwich. $12

For dinner I make Malaysian-style udon (similar to hokkien mee except swapping the noodles) with chicken, green beans, carrot and a dark sauce concoction. I also roast cauliflower. With the leftovers, I pack three lunches with udon and cauliflower and another portion for dinner the next day!

Thursday

I noticed that avocado ripened quicker than expected. I pack a quarter of an avocado and some falafel balls for breakfast, the udon for lunch, an apple and a ruby raspberry Kit Kat.

I train to and from work.

It’s a super full on day and I pretty much have to eat my lunch in the middle of a meeting. We also have birthday cake for a colleague in the mid afternoon.

For dinner, we eat udon with cauliflower, finish that purple sweet potato which I roast up again, and have Korean soybean stew with wombok and zucchini (I add kimchi to mine). After I also eat an orange and the last green tea ice cream mochi. I also roast orange sweet potato and some falafels for lunch the next day.

Friday

I pack some crackers, cheese and a quarter of the avocado for breakfast. Lunch is a salad with sweet potato, the remainder of the baby spinach, half an avocado and falafels. I also pack a banana and a banana Kit Kat. T’s lunch is the last container of udon.

I train to and from work.

T’s parents invited us and his brother-in-law over for Ipoh Hor Fun, which is one of my favourite Malaysian dishes. There’s also curry puffs (I have one) and fried chicken (I pass), then fruit for dessert. Delicious!

Saturday


For brunch we go to Breakfast Thieves. I order the “fried rice” chilli scrambled eggs on toast, sambal, bacon, peas, corn, spring onion, parmesan, puffed rice ($21); T orders the crispy potato roesti, grilled smoked ham, sauerkraut, poached eggs, apple hollandaise; and we both get a latte (2 x $4). I am quite creeped out by my dish because the charred puffed rice looks like grubs. $51

For dinner we are invited over to T’s parents place again. Because T’s brother-in-law is back, they are going to town cooking Malaysian food. We usually don’t eat with them so often in a week! Tonight T’s mum is making another of my Malaysian favourites – po piah. We all fail at wrapping our po piah but who cares because it’s delicious. She reheats some of last night’s soup and we also have a small helping of Ipoh Hor Fun (with choose-what-you-want inside, so I only have soup, noodles and chives). We have fruit after dinner.

Sunday

In the morning, I take the train to the suburbs and meet my Mum and we drive to Chadstone for a spot of window shopping. I want to look for a new foundation. I have been trying for years to find a foundation as good as my discontinued favourite foundation. I get a bunch of samples from Lancome and YSL in David Jones. I am also looking for a new compact wallet and we check out the ones I’m interested in at Loewe, Dior and Louis Vuitton. I also hopefully walk into Celine just in case but of course there’s no OldCeline small leather goods (I found a handful of Old Celine wallets at Marais just one/two months ago but sadly none were in the size or combination I vaguely wanted).

I don’t even realise how hungry I am when we are about to leave. I didn’t have breakfast and it’s already passed lunch time! We have nachos and a taco each at Fonda and I pay. $32

We go back home and my Mum heads off to her singing club. Dad and I drive to my apartment because he is helping me to move two pieces of Ikea storage units that I want to keep and my parents will kindly hold onto for me. T drives to the apartment as well to help. Luckily we are able to fit one set of drawers in Dad’s car and the cabinet in our small car. As there’s room, Dad also takes the TV that I’m giving them. I hang around the apartment to take pictures of all the other furniture I want to sell.

Back at my parents place, we wait for my Mum then go out to dinner at Koi Ramen Sushi Don. We share gyoza and a soft shell crab roll, Mum has udon, Dad has a beef bento, T has a pork katsu bento and I have una don. We pay because my parents paid for the last meal we ate out together. $79

Time for our weekly grocery shop. We buy: broccoli ($2.54 at $3.50/kg), cauliflower ($2), mushrooms ($6.86 at $12/kg), 450g tomatoes ($2), 200g cherry tomatoes ($3), 120g baby spinach ($3), bananas ($0.65 at $3.90/kg), 20-pack L’or coffee capsules ($8), 95g canned tuna ($1), ham ($4.03), 700g sliced bread ($3.40), 1L ice cream ($5), 2 packs of 500g sausages ($14 at $7 each). $55.48

Total spend: $229.48 (joint account)

Money Diary #5: An atypical week

I did two back-to-back money diary weeks and this is the first (highly atypical) week because I auction my apartment and we eat out so much.

Monday

I wake up at 6am with a sore throat and email work to say I will work from home unless I get more sick. I sleep for a few more hours.

Working away. I make a spinach and ham omelette and coffee for breakfast. I also pay off one of our credit cards.

I realise the prepaid 12-month sim I wanted to buy is sold out since it got discounted last week ($300 to $200). What a rookie mistake. I decide to drive out to the shops and get carrots (because they were over $2/kg at Coles when we did our grocery shop the night before and I know they are $1.20/kg at Woolworths, hmph!) and to get the other 12-month prepaid sim that is on sale this week that my Mum wants to switch to. Prepaid sims are ridiculously competitive now!

The sim card is sold out at the one supermarket I try. I walk passed a Tattslotto and cash in a winning ticket (T’s family sporadically buys us lottery tickets and I am wondering if it is their way of worrying about our finances, haha). (+$13 gift). I also get 3 1kg bags of carrots ($3.60) and another zucchini because they look so nice and are on sale $3.90/kg), even though I bought two the day before. After 5% discount using prepaid gift cards, $5.11

Back home, I heat up the hokkien mee I had packed for today’s lunch.

Around 4, I start cooking Japanese curry (I always used Curry House roux) with beef chuck, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. I get it finished up to the point of boiling (sans roux) at about 6 (at which point I had stress-eaten a bag of delicious Japanese gummies), when T gets home to drop off his bag. Then we take a tram and walk to my real estate agent for a catch up before Wednesday night’s auction of my apartment. It’s a little depressing because he is not expecting any active bidders on the night, but it is what it is and I trust his next strategies.

We get back home and I finish off the curry. I started the rice before we left. I also make a clear soup with wombok and zucchini on the side. There’s heaps of curry leftover so we put the whole pot in the fridge. I also eat a green tea ice cream mochi which T agrees is good – he can’t even tell it’s vegan.

T’s parents source that sim card that my Mum wants for me – legends. They drop it off. It cost $140 and I’ll pay them back later when I have cash ready.

Tuesday

I get up and feel much the same as yesterday morning. I want to get in early today so my alarm is set earlier than usual. I make an egg with some zucchini and pack it for breakfast. I also take hokkien mee for lunch. I drive to work because I am also heading to my first session as a teaching associate further away at a university campus. Last week I drove there for a meeting and it took me 1 hour.

I leave work at 11 to get to the University campus, where I use the parking permits I was given. I go to the teaching lounge to catch up with the other tutors and unit coordinators, and eat my lunch with a fork I find in the kitchen drawer because my fork fell into a dark abyss in the car.

I’m taking two workshop sessions (12:00-1:30 and 13:30-3:00) in group teaching style (120 students in a large teaching room and each tutor is assigned three small groups to alternate between). I’m really glad I took this on because it’ll be a great experience, I enjoy teaching, and the money is so SO good. It is totally going to be worth putting in some extra hours for my normal job. I almost wonder if I should have just agreed to do all four workshops over six hours since the commute is pretty long for me to and from the city.

I make the long drive back home. My usual plan is going to be driving to my parents’ house and working there and then having dinner with my Mum every Tuesday, since it’s halfway between campus and the city and I don’t have to struggle with peak traffic. However today I have dinner plans in the city. It takes me over an hour to get home and I work two more hours. I stress-eat the rest of a packet of spicy Korean chips (not that good).

It’s T’s dad’s birthday and we go out for dinner at SPQR. His Mum pays. We go back home for cake (pear tart from Le Petite Gateau) and give him his birthday present.

Wednesday

I set my alarm early again (gotta make up those hours slowly), but I have bad cramps all early morning and don’t sleep well. I decide to just let myself sleep a bit longer. After getting up, I make an egg with spinach and zucchini to pack for breakfast. I also cut up a nashi pear and pack the last of the hokkien mee for lunch, a banana, and some Chinese rice cracker snacks.

I train to work.

I eat the banana just before leaving work and hope I won’t be too starving tonight. I train back into the city and head to my real estate agency office. My apartment is going on auction tonight at an in-office auction (last of three lined up). I have a quick chat with my agent and sign my reserve price. He is not expecting any bidding today. Afterwards we sit with the crowd and watch the first two auctions. There are (non-alcoholic) drinks and snacks. I take a lollipop for later but don’t feel like eating anything. When my property gets auctioned, I leave the room and sit in a private office.

Surprisingly one person is bidding (against himself… such is the auction process in Australia!). It passes in under reserve and my agent spends the next hour and a half negotiating. I totally didn’t expect it to happen but the buyer ends up agreeing to my final counter offer. It works out similar to if I had gotten my actual asking price because he does not get a subject-to-finance cooling off period and he wants a short settlement period. It’s not a great result, but I’m at peace and relieved it is over.

It’s passed 8:30 when we leave the offices and T convinces me it is too late to eat at home and we should “celebrate”. We settle on going to a nearby ramen place but eating their side dishes instead (the full side dishes menu starts at 8:30 so we’ve never actually been able to before). We order some homemade citrus sake, oden, fried mackerel, gyoza and a seaweed salad. $52.90

Thursday

I make egg, spinach and zucchini and pack it for breakfast, make a coffee to bring, take rice and curry for lunch, and a banana.

I train to and from work.

For dinner, I make some pasta sauce with chicken, spinach and carrot but I don’t eat it because there’s one more serving of curry left so I eat that on its own. T’s dinner is pasta with my pasta sauce. I pack the same for him for lunch. I pack the remaining pasta sauce with zoodles for my lunch. We also have some clear soup with wombok and enoki. After dinner I eat another green tea ice cream mochi!

Friday

I make an egg with zucchini and a slice of ham to take for breakfast, take a coffee, my zoodles and pasta sauce, and a banana. I train to and from work.

I wish I had cut the zoodles because they are infinitely long and difficult to eat. Lesson learned. I also don’t end up eating the banana and have to take it back home!

T is going to Sydney for almost a week for a conference in mid-September. I decide to also head up with him for the weekend for the free accommodation. I buy expensive return flights with Virgin (why did he have to leave it so late?!) so it is the same flight departing from Melbourne. With the reimbursed accommodation and his reimbursed flights, it’ll still be worth it. $294.63

For dinner, I roast a broccoli and a purple sweet potato, and make non-spicy tteok-bokki with pork, fish cake and wombok. I had some leftover pasta from last night and make T a quick pasta salad (just added ham and Kewpie mayo) to eat while I’m making all of the above. In the end the sweet potato takes too long and we are pretty full so we cut off only two end segments of the sweet potato to continue roasting to eat. T finishes that banana I brought back home because I think it’s turning black. I eat an orange instead and another green tea ice cream mochi.

Saturday




We are taking T’s parents and his grandmother to lunch. We head out to Chadstone Shopping Centre, where parking is a nightmare, for lunch at Shanghai Red. Luckily they got the last free table and we don’t need to queue. We get kao fu, xiao long bao, Shanghai fried noodles, sheng jian bao, stir-fried beans with olive leaf, and fried barramundi. $83.80

We go for coffee/something sweet next. It takes ages to find a table in the food court. T heads off for three coffees (for himself, his mum and grandma) from Little Sparrow ($12.60) and I get an iced sencha with matcha syrup and pearls (for myself; $5.50) and a matcha and houjicha swirl ice cream (for T’s dad; $4.30) from Kyo Tea House ($10.80). $24.40

We stop by the amazing fresh food market in Chadstone for daikon, sweet potato (orange and purple) and fresh udon noodles. $8.73

T also runs off when he sees an ATM to get us some cash and to pay back his parents for that $140 sim.

We had back into the city and I make a small coffee at home.

For dinner we eat galettes at Roule Galette. $35.50

We aren’t really full and Roule Galette is closing so we can’t have sweet crepes there. We get a chocolate fondant and a pear and raspberry cake from Brunetti ($16.70), then one of the new caramel dougnuts from Krispy Kreme ($3.60). $20.30

We go home and watch a movie and episodes of The Black List. I end up unable to even eat one third of the desserts, sigh.

Sunday


We are meeting my cousin and her partner for lunch. We are a bit early so detour to one of our favourite Asian grocers. T grumbles because he finds a new Japanese Kit Kat flavour (peach and mint). $6.95

We eat at Krimper. We are celebrating my cousin finishing her last assessment for her Master’s she’s been doing part time, and to have a good planning session for their upcoming Japan trip. I have been drafting and revising their itinerary and this is a face-to-face session to continue revising it. I have the salmon scramble (pretty blah), the others have burgers and bacon and waffles. Four coffees are ordered. We pay. $93.84

We head home and drive out to do our grocery shop. I’ve activated an offer to received $10 worth of points back for spending over $50, but it really means we are aiming for $60 in order to get two Coles Mini collectables that I am collecting, haha. T is in charge of the shopping tally. We buy: 4 apples ($2.52 at $4/kg), 2 oranges ($1.63 at $2.90/kg), 5 bananas ($3.64 at $3.50/kg), 2 pears ($1.79 at $2.90/kg), 1 avocado ($1.90 – so cheap!), 500g green beans ($2.50), 120g baby spinach ($3), 700g eggs ($3.95), 425g tin tuna ($4.50), 95g tin smoked tuna ($1.15), flat tissue pack (for the car; $1.20), 2kg dishwashing powder ($18), chicken wings on clearance ($2.99; in the freezer and can’t read the sticker but it was probably half to a kg) and chicken thighs ($13.07 at $12/kg). $61.84 (and getting $10 worth of points back)

We have dinner with T’s parents and his brother-in-law who has just flown back for a month (wedding and work). We’re having hot pot at their home. There is way too much food and even fruit for dessert. I take home a big loot of Coles Mini collectables from the Aunty network (T’s mum’s friends).

Total spend: $688 (joint account)