Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shopping efficiency.

I used to really like shopping, but there weren't many shops around and I didn't have much money. Now I have money, and I live in Sydney so there are plenty of shops, but shopping isn't as magical an experience for me. There are more fun things to do than beat through crowds to make expensive decisions in tiny mirrored rooms… staying home to do the washing, for example. So I take a quieter, even minimalist approach to shopping now.

Once I find a shop that sells something which works well, I go back there next time to save shopping around. For example, when I need sunglasses I go to Portmans. $25, nice but not blingy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Single Girl Ghetto.

I went to a wedding on the weekend—a very rare event for me. I haven't been to many weddings at all, and I think it is because none of my friends ever get married. I live in a Single Girl Ghetto. Let's not be bitter about it, though—it's kind of great! I have lots of lovely friends to swap DVDs with, eat out with, exercise with, go on holidays with, watch movies with—I'm very blessed.

When we are all old and still unmarried, without grandchildren to care for us, someone suggested we all move in to one big house, get a live-in nurse, and swap crochet patterns and go for walks together.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Washing sheets and apartment living

I live in an apartment and there's many things I love about it, including location and neighbours. But the one thing I really miss is having an outdoor clothes line. Sure we have a huge balcony, but we're not allowed to hang clothes out on it (lame!).

So when it comes to washing sheets, most of the time I end up throwing them in the dryer, even if it's a beautiful, sunny day outside. It just doesn't seem right.

Not having an outdoor clothes line means your living room often ends up being a makeshift laundry room: full of clothes drying racks because you're being environmentally friendly by not using the electric dryer.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thinking of names.

I sometimes wish I had spent more time thinking up the name for this blog, instead of putting Jess and Elsie together. It works because we are similar people, that was the original point. But it's a pretty dull name on it's own, and it has to be spelt with 2 Ss. But names that mean something lose their cool after a while, so a name that means nothing is probably a better place to start. I just still think we could have done better than jelssie.

Anyway, today I was trying to think up a name for a society of people who have lived in Kennedy St (I stole the idea, but there are a lot of us, we deserve a name) and I found a random name generator for cults and secret societies! awesome! I could play with it all day! Here are my favourites so far.

The Immovable Samurais of the Eternities
The Chosen Students of the Rosy Crafts
The Psionic Community of the Wyrms
The Sodality of the Swamp
The Community of the Deep Gentlemen
The Quorum of Crowned Catchpolls
The Loyal Swarm of Chevaliers
The Company of the Fiendish Ark
The Fellowship of the Unfathomable Academy
The Quintal Elects of St. Agabius
The Alliance of the Invisible Pestilence

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

KESC 7 review

Eight brave and dauntles challengers met last Friday at GPK. This was was by far the most exhausting challenge, although we did not expect it to be such a feat of an endurance.

First, we broke the rules of the challenge, using the Girls Of Slender Means card to jump a block so that we could use some discount vouchers. So far so good.

The food was quite nice.

The value was OK, we ordered 5 pizzas and a couple of entree things between 8 of us, and it came to $14.50 each.

The service was a little inattentive, they only set the table for 7 and when we asked for an 8th setting they forgot the glass.

All this would have been a 3.5/5 night. If it hadn't been for:


Oh yes.

There was a table of 500 primary-aged boys seated right with us. GPK is all hard surfaces, and the noise was unbelievable. I have never been so deafened while trying to eat. And there was pizza dough to play with and throw around.

To add insult to injury, we were only allowed to use one of our vouchers with our whole order payment. Not one for every 2nd pizza.

I take back my 3.5/5 and give GPK minus 5.

So afterwards half of us went to ABC afe to recover with some of this:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Essay on Ladies Fashion and the development of the Toilet.

It is generally accepted that women wore long skirts for hundreds of years because they were repressed by society.

Possibly. It is nice that society has relaxed enough to allow both men and women to dress comfortably and casually. However! I think it has as much to do with plumbing.

(Boys who blush easily should stop reading now.)

I was surprised to read, in The Jane Austen Handbook, that Regency women like Jane Austen did not wear knickers. (I warned you!) Underneath those long dresses and long petticoats… nothing! Just some thin socks. I wondered, why? Weren't they cold? Didn't they feel naked? Why didn't they invent bloomers? And then I realised, they had no proper toilets. Women had to use potties. With a little imagination, the link is obvious.

Legged underpants (or trousers) would make it difficult to use a potty. The trouser is an awkward item of clothing to half-remove because it ties your legs together. I have no idea how exactly ladies used the potty, but I imagine having your legs in trousers would be tricky.

Big skirts are fine for potties, but very difficult for modern toilets, as shown in the movie 27 Dresses, where bridesmaid duties include holding up voluminous wedding dress while bride wee-wees. So bathroom development and fashion development is linked as follows:
Potty = long skirts,
Toilet = trousers or legged underpants.
Also, once you have legged underpants, like pantaloons or knickers, you no longer have to rely on long skirts for warmth and modesty; you can have any length skirt you like.

There you have it! Women's liberation from long skirts is linked to developments in home plumbing. The gradual shift from long skirts to short skirts/trousers could not have happened without a shift from petticoats to split-legged pantaloons to bloomers to knickers... which could not have happened without the modern toilet.

Monday, March 22, 2010

TV hair.

I wish there would be some women on American TV with less perfect hair. TV women who are playing detectives and lawyers and mums and uni students all have sleek, shiny, voluminous hair. It is distracting me. I really think they should tone it down.

TV men usually have boring and conservative hair, with some exceptions. Gibbs from NCIS usually has a weird overgrown Marine crop.

TV nerds must have excellently funny hair. The best hair on TV is Maurice Moss from The IT Crowd. His big fro with a side part is hilarious. Second most ridiculous hair is Dwight Shrute. Quote from Dwight re getting haircuts:

"Why tip someone for a job I'm capable of doing myself? I can deliver food. I can drive a taxi. I can, and do, cut my own hair. I did however, tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Unexpected benefit

Since I've started exercising regularly, I think my lung capacity has increased. I noticed at church this morning, I could belt out "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing" without my usual gasping.

I also noticed a lyrical change from "His blood avails for me" to "His blood sufficed for me".

Friday, March 19, 2010

Interesting things about flying and tourism. And KESC Hobart!

  • Air travel is AMAZING. Even when it's bad, it's still AMAZING compared with the alternatives. It took me 4 hours door to door, Hobart to Randwick, including check-in waiting, and catching a bus home. AMAZING! I crossed 3 states!
  • Virgin Blue had a more fun crew, and more overhead bag stowage, than Jetstar.
  • You can get cheap plane food on the last flight of the day!
  • Clouds are so much prettier from plane windows.
  • I saw actual bumble bees at Port Arthur!
  • Weather maketh the holiday. You need either perfect weather so that you can enjoy it, or excitingly bad weather so that you have stories to tell. Overcast weather is the worst.
  • I am an eating tourist. I like to eat something local and interesting at places on the way. This is quite different from my grandparents, who pack their lunches. They, however, are more likely to buy a souvenir, like a teaspoon or a teatowel or a hat. I think eating is better because it is anti-clutter, takes up no room in your luggage, and you have to eat anyway.
  • Speaking of eating, my friend Anita has started a sister challenge on Hobart's main restaurant drag, Elizabeth Street! Elizabeth Eat Street Challenge.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Sewing is not a talent, it's a skill, so really anyone can learn it, just nobody can be bothered (I'm lucky I learned as a home-schooler). I know it's hard to have time to do everything, but I meet so many people who boast that they don't even know how to sew on a button. Which is frankly not something you should not boast about, because if you can tie a shoelace you can sew on a button, it's the same theory. In and out, tie a knot. So what is there to boast about? You prefer to be lazy and wasteful. Tut-tut. I wag my finger at you.

So, the good thing about sewing is that as well as being a creative outlet, you can save money. Girls of Slender Means should always be on the lookout for ways to economise, and although you can shop cheaply at SES, it's good to know how to mend a little, do basic alterations, or even make a really unique one-off piece of clothing. It's worth having a go.

Using a needle and thread is very straightforward, just like shoelaces. Using a sewing machine is the next step, and once you know you way around one you should be able to sew anything, because patterns come with instructions and anything you don't know you can google.

The ultimate achievement is sewing without a pattern. I am currently inspired by this blog, which has examples of refashioning (perfect for Girls of Slender Means), and easy tutorials. I currently have a half-finished attempt to turn a dress into a skirt.

And JessK and I are about to start a long planned skirt sewing project! We begin this Saturday with fabric shopping in the city. Fabric shopping is like buying art supplies, fun and full of creative potential! Oooh, I'm all excited!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can't be bothered hemming?

Try the Wilton method, or "denim spats" method, of shortening jeans. This method has now been observed on a middle-aged woman at the State Theater, so it may be a lot more common than I thought.

All you need is a pair of scissors. Figure out how much of your jeans are trailing under your feet, and then cut the back of the hem off at ground level. Do not cut the front of the hem off, thus preserving part of the original hem and the appearance of professional hemming.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Operation Shrink-Denim-Till-It-Fits

Lately, my denim bottoms (jeans and skirts) have gotten looser. I didn't really want to look like I belonged in a hip hop video clip with baggy jeans, so I decided to wash them and dry them in the dryer at the hottest setting, to shrink them so they fit.

The proof is in the wearing, so I hope to update you in a few weeks time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A cheat's guide to hemming

If I were an accomplished lady, I would know how to play the pianoforte and hem clothing. Alas, I can do neither.

So here is my cheat's guide to hemming.

Fold hem in to appropriate length. You may want to compare your un-hemmed pair against a properly hemmed pair for the right length. Attach little pins along the hem, to hold it up.

And this is how it looks:

See! Not very noticeable at all. This should do you until you find someone to alter it for you. Or you could wear heels with all your pants.

Books in bathrooms, or "toilature".

Keeping books in the toilet, or taking the papers in there, is a behaviour I don't like. On the surface, toilature seems to show a love of reading. I do love reading. But a toilet is not a reading place, it has another purpose. The two activities should not be conducted in the same room or at the same time.

Credits: the word "toilature" comes from here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I make my bed every day, because an unmade bed makes the whole room look messier. I have a little bit of a messy room, mostly shoes and paper and half-worn clothes, but if I make the bed the room is half as messy! Putting away the shoes, paper and clothes would take a lot longer.

It is important to make regular chores easy. I just have to fluff the pillows, drag up the doona and throw the banana pillow on top. If I had to tuck in sheets, smooth bed-spreads, or arrange half a dozen stupid decorative cushions, bed-making would be too big a chore.

On the topic of stupid piles of pretty cushions, if you actually like them, here is my suggestion: arrange them how you like and then sew them together. Half an hour with a great big needle and you will have one big cushion which looks like a pile of little cushions, saving you minutes every day when you have to make the bed!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

KESC 6 review

Can you believe 7 people met together on a Friday night to eat Oporto? I can't. But it is true.
First, we had conversation. The problem with fast food is that it makes for a pretty quick social event, so to maximise the evening we spent 30 minutes in conversation before ordering.I took a lot of notes, but I left them at home again so here are the observations sharpest in my mind 4 days later.
  • Noise (mostly from music videos)
  • Music videos better quality than in city KFC
  • Sticky tables
  • Mosquitos
  • Overpriced vitamin water
  • Friendly service but inconsistent upselling
  • Vouchers
The Food
  • Salad was better than at maccas
  • burgers and wraps were good: hot, fresh, not drowned in mayo
  • the chips were delicious, maybe a little overdone
Desserts: APPALLING caramel sunday, OK chocolate mousse. The sundae was grainy and bland. Both were $3.00, and they weren't worth 30 cents.Value: Not as cheap as the asian food. Meals $8-$11. Plenty filling though.

I forgot to get ratings from the others, I would say 2.5/5

Monday, March 8, 2010

Next KESC: Gourmet Pizza Kitchen!

If we were sticking to the rules of Kingsford Eat Street Challenge, our next destination would be Kingsford Delicious Satay (or whatever it's called). But I have SIX (yes, six!) complimentary vouchers at Gourmet Pizza Kitchen which expire 28 March 2010. The vouchers are for:
Order any gourmet pizza of your choice and receive a second pizza of equal or lesser value with out compliments. Alternatively you can choose complimentary coffees and a dessert to share after your pizza.
Now when it comes to jelssie, saving money trumps any rules we have made about the KESC.

So, we shall see you:

6:30pm Friday 19 March 2010
Gourmet Pizza Kitchen
333 Anzac Parade, Cnr Borrodale Road, Kingsford

If you're going to join us, please leave a comment or email Jess or me by Tuesday 16 March, so we can book a table. If you're unsure, just rock up and we can whack you on the end of a table. We'll remind you again closer to the date.

By the way, there's going to be a Mochi Dessert Cafe opening up soon, and a Papa Joe's Cafe has opened up recently as well. Lots of new places!


There are many differences between man and woman. It would be impossible to list them all. But here is a significant one I heard today on the ABC.

Women, when removing a jumper, either:
a) hold jumper from the bottom, sometimes with arms crossed, and gather the jumper up and over the head, trying to avoid contact with her hair. Alternatively,
b) remove one sleeve at a time and then lift it over from the bottom, again avoiding hair contact.

Men also have two ways to remove a jumper.
a) grab jumper by the back of the neck with both hands and drag whole jumper over head in one go.
b) grab jumper from bottom and peel over back and head, turning jumper inside out as you go.

Real estate: when to buy.

Property is expensive. I hear that in Australia it is 50% overpriced… but overpriced isn't overpriced as long as people are willing to pay. If everyone stopped buying property, prices would go down, right? Maybe what we need to do is scare everybody out of the market with a self-fulfilling prophecy of housing bubbles bursting.

But while property is in demand and under-supplied, renting is sensible and you shouldn't feel bad about it. (The important thing is to rent cheap and save.)

However, I have good news! In the very long term, real estate might drop off a lot… just wait until the Baby Boomers exit the property market and go into nursing homes. I'm just biding my time…

Friday, March 5, 2010

New standard for dried fruit.

This is the best dried fruit in the world. It is made of mango and sugar. It tastes like sunshine and heaven and sugary mango. I am obsessed with finding them in Australia. If anyone sees this in a shop, please alert me.

KESC tonight at Oporto, don't forget. I think we have vouchers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

FAIL food.

This is not what I mean by FAIL food, but it's a pretty good photo of my brother "cooking" an O week BBQ. As you can see he chooses thin sausages.

FAIL food is: when you have to eat something which is neither
a) healthy or
b) tasty.

Other than filling you up, it is a complete waste of time, ingredients and calories. It fails to be delicious, it fails to be nutritious. Bad takeaway. Bad soup. Bad chicken schnitzel. I did a horrible chicken schnitzel once, it was a funny colour so I kept transferring it from frying pan to microwave and back, then I realised that it was supposed to be that colour. I ate it anyway.

Because I'm not a cook-book cook, I just cook up a batch of something in a pot and eat it all week. Sometimes there are spectacular successes, but tinged with the knowledge that I will never be able to cook it again because nothing was measured. Sometimes it is FAIL food, and I still have to eat it all week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I see orange.

Have you ever noticed that Fanta, Cheezels and orange M&Ms have the same fluoro orange as an orange highlighter?

Guess which one this is:

Monday, March 1, 2010

KESC 5 review.

We had a completely lovely night at Giovanna last Friday. Giovanna is a lively, happening place with a mix of families, couples and groups, so we booked ahead. It is quite nice to arrive at a restaurant to a shiny, clean, properly set table.

We collected a lot of notes, and now it is up to me to compress a page of various bad handwriting and bad spelling into a coherent review. I'm going to include the bad spelling.

We ordered:
  • Pizza—boccochinni and proscuitto
  • Lasagne,
  • Pesto—gnochi,
  • Fetticini marinara,
  • Chicken bosciola
  • Veal parmigiana
  • as well as a bowl of mussels, some garlic bread and a couple of drinks.

The portions were large, the meals were hot and fresh from the kitchen, and smelled great. They came out pretty quickly and pretty close together. It all looked and tasted pretty fantastic.

  • the gnochi was the best gnochi ever, hand-made and melty
  • the roasted veggies were delicious
  • salads were fresh and yummy
  • garlic bread was garlicy
  • we liked the water bottles.
  • Steak knives would have been handy for the veal and the brocoli
  • no cracked pepper
  • mussel casserole not the freshest
  • no parsley on the lasagne
  • pizza hard to bite into due to size of pruscuitto bits

This is the top of the price range of Kingsford, as pastas and pizzas were around $15-20, mains were $20-30. Can't afford to go there frequently, the value for money isn't great, but it is a good quality place with great food.


Were surprisingly not overpriced. Gelatos and tirimisu and so on. The menu didn't have prices on it, so we guessed the prices and they turned out cheaper.

Overall, we gave it 4/5 challenge stars. Best challenge so far!

Oh! Oh! Oh! Oporto!

Next Kingsford Eat Street Challenge:

Friday 5th March 2010
287-291 Anzac Parade, Kingsford NSW 2032.

Check out the nutritional info on the official website or at Calorie King if wanna try and keep it healthy (or if you want a scare!).