To the left, on the bench please.

It's the enjoyment of shopping online, with the smugness that comes from knowing you do not need to venture to The Supermarket.*

*Unless you are me and even though you have an extensive list to shop with, there is inevitably a few things that slip my mind. Usually the glaringly freakin' obvious things, like bread.

Let's rephrase that then.

It's the enjoyment of shopping online, with the smugness that comes from knowing you will need to venture to The Supermarket, but it's a duck in and out job, not a packed lunchbox kind of affair.

I started doing my groceries online a few months ago when my lovely pregnancy hormones vacated and left my mental health somewhat lacking. Along with seeing my GP, I started to find any little ways to make life easier. Strangely enough, the prospect of not taking an infant and a toddler to the supermarket made me feel like my life could be easier.

I tried my local supermarket, but their food quality was crap, delivery expensive and they didn't have the basic things online for me to purchase. Their phone assistant told me it was 'probably that the shop your order is picked from is low on stock, so they reserve that stock for in person shoppers.'

What now? You're charging a premium per item and in delivery that means I can't buy my BBQ sauce online because someone in New Town might want to buy it?

'Could you not just pop in to your local Supermarket and get it in person?'

Yes. I could. But, genius, that isn't why I'm doing my shopping online now, isn't it? When I leave detailed notes in the 'Detailed Notes for This Item' section, I also have an expectation that my personal shopper whom I'm paying more from might actually read it, not completely ignore it.

So I tried The Other Supermarket from Another Town. And grocery toting angels sang from on high. My groceries are delivered to my kitchen bench. I can pay by EFTPOS in my kitchen, should I choose. The delivery is half the price of The Supermarket, and we're actually spending less on our groceries because I'm not wandering aimlessly distracted by shiny things for some unknown reason. My delivery person will even take the plastic bags away to be recycled. My one beef is the sheer amount of plastic bags used - they have no other option unfortunately, but last week I received one zucchini in a clear veggie bag in a shopping bag. One.

The other first world bonus of doing my shopping at The Other Supermarket is that because we've never shopped there, their home brand goods are like another fancy brand that we haven't tried yet. I've so far whittled us down to Other Supermarket Corn Flakes, Other Supermarket Pasta, Other Supermarket Lemonade... as I clicked through this week's shop I hopefully said to Mr S 'What about Other Supermarket Ice Cream?'.

'No. Absolutely not.'
'Okay, okay, I just thought I'd ask.'
'I am 33. I have tried them all. I have been around the ice cream block.'

I did not buy the Other Supermarket Ice Cream.

Clothes. THEY ALSO SELL CLOTHES. I bought P a pair of socks to test the Clothes At A Supermarket quality, and they're not only lovely, they are highly reasonably priced.

So once a week I write my list, I sit down and click my grocery shopping into the ether of the internet. As if by magic, two days later it turns up in my kitchen. MAGIC, I tell you.

This is absolutely not sponsored. It would be brilliant if it was.

2012: The Year of New... Appliances.

In the Smyth household it seems to be a year of new appliances. You know, stuff.
Not by choice. It's just seemed to be the year when everything gives up the ghost. Right after our honeymoon mortgage rate expired.

Far be it from you imagining Mr S and I merrily skipping the aisles of Big W and The Good Guys to buy new appliances, we'd both rather stab our eyes out with hot blunt needles whilst listening to the Hot 30 Countdown.

I prefer to shop online, but when together, Mr S and I are masters of the Kamikaze-shop. You know, it goes a bit like this:
Mr S: 'I think we need a new washing machine.'
Me: 'Why?'
Mr S: 'The pump on this one just broke. It doesn't work any more.'
Me: 'Oh. Crap.'
We Mr S tried to fix it. I put out the call on Twitter for a good second hand one. I wound up buying a second second second hand one from our local tip shop for $30 whilst we figured out how the heck we could afford justify a new one.

Like this, but $30 and much much less shiny.
(image from lassoo.com)

Our second second second hand washing machine worked well. As in, it worked better than the last one. As in, it worked. However when it spun it sounded like a spaceship was taking off in our laundry and all conversation was nigh on impossible from the noise. Not to mention it would randomly short out our circuit board.

Then the bathroom broke (I'd link you to a post, but there's too many to count.) and we talked to our mortgage broker. So it was time for a new washing machine.

We left M with the Smyths Snrs for a day and went to Hobart. We went to one shop, looked at the washing machines, decided that one looked good and that we'd come back at the end of the day. Shopping around? Whatever. We are infinite cheapskates who do not enjoy shopping around for a better price, so we took a catalogue and went on our merry way. Past The Good Guys. We strolled in, pointed at the washing machine, pointed at the catalogue, accepted a much lesser price, paid, put the washing machine in our car and went home.
That's how you Kamikaze Shop.

Voila! New washing machine!
(image from appliancesonline.com.au)

A week or so ago I lifted up the kettle and a lot of water came gushing out of the bottom. Far more than the 'condensation is normal' sticker would imply. I mopped it up, ignored it and kept ignoring it. Then Mr S noticed and the conversation went like this:
Mr S: 'Hey Amy, I think we need a new kettle.'
Me: 'Oh really? Crap.'
Mr S: 'Why crap?'
Me: 'Well. Um. It's just that I can't remember where the receipt is. I know I bought it at the beginning of the year I think, or was it last year? If it was December that's when Millie wasn't sleeping so who knows where I would have put it? If it was this year I guess it could be in the receipt pile on my desk* or in the filing cabinet**?'
Mr S: 'How about you look for it?'
Me, panicked: 'I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS! We just need to buy a new one.'
Mr S: 'How about you just have a little look for it? It was not a cheap kettle, remember?'
Me, hyperventilating: 'O. K.'


The kettle that sadly could not contain itself.
We were quite fond of it's pot bellied shape.
(image from www.bigw.com.au)

Fast forward two hours time. The receipt is not on my desk, Mr S has looked where he might have put it, it's not in the kitchen, it's not ANYWHERE. I am mightily annoyed, because as scatterbrained as I am, I am diligent with my tax receipts and my tax returns. Mr S is not, but can always find receipts and warranties. He puts them immediately away in the file marked 'Receipts' or 'Warranties'. In my receipt hunting travels I found a receipt for a $30 pair of jeans he bought in 2008 in the 'Receipts' file. Scoff as I might, it's a foolproof system he's got going on there.

I continue searching, getting angrier and angrier with myself. I look in my tax folders, I look in my desk drawers, my handbag, my wallet, books I've read recently... nothing. I was convinced it had gone the way of my 2009 journal. (Gone. Disappeared. Never to be seen. Gulp.)

I stomped past the bookshelf and saw a new-ish recipe book sticking out, and remembering my tendencies to put things in books I decided to check. I found the manual (Millie did not eat it, as I had insisted she had) and tucked inside the manual was the receipt.

Turns out it that at $38 it was actually a cheap kettle. See above comment where I admit to us being cheapskates.

I go back to Big W and exchange the kettle. There's no more of the same one on the shelf, which is fine with me. After Mrs S Snr bought us our old Sunbeam kettle in 2002 and it died 10 years later (it was still working, the plastic was simply so degraded I couldn't stand it any longer) I was wary of having another fancy kettle that would die 6 months after I bought it.

However, unless I wanted a no-brand kettle there wasn't a lot between $20-$90. 
Enter Aquella, our new latino kettle. He is stylish. He has a flip top lip. He doesn't leak water all over my bench leaving me stuck between a needing-a-cup-of-tea rock and a oh-my-electrocution hard place.

Shaped like an old-school coffee pot, quiet boiling, flip button lid. I'm in love.
(image from www.sunbeam.com.au)

Aquella was Kamikaze-bought too. Millie in the trolley, munching biscuits like a champion but really wanting to just get out of the gosh-darned trolley. LOOK! A KETTLE! IT'S PRETTY! Done.

Next is a fridge. The fridge that came with our house alternately leaks water all over the floorboards (gulp) or freezes the vegetables. It's a tricky one because there's a space built for the fridge. Can any of you recommend a good website that lets me search by measurements? There must be one out there...

This has been a boring year of appliance shopping. I haven't even told you about kamikaze-shopping for the bathroom. It goes a bit like this:
  • The Smyths enter a tile warehouse. They point at tiles, take a photo of the them, do a cursory once around the shop and leave. Mr S returns the next week and purchases the photographed tiles.
  • The Smyths go to three bathroom shops to look at toilets. Mrs S feels extremely stabby. Mr S loves bathroom shops. They go to Bunnings. Mr S loves Bunnings as much as Mrs S loves Spotlight. Mr S points at a toilet. Mrs S says things about needing to use a loo, have a cup of tea and something to eat. NOW. They buy the toilet Mr S pointed at.
  • The Smyths look at vanities. After three weeks of talking about it as it turns out Mr S has a very particular idea of what he wants, Mrs S feels stabby and tells Mr S to just buy one. He goes antique shopping, finds one, takes Mrs S to look at it. She says yes. They buy it.
  • The Smyths discuss paint options for the bathroom. Mrs S renounces all responsibility. Mr S goes to the hardware shop and buys paint. He is currently painting the bathroom as Mrs S types.

I'd like to have some fun appliance shopping. Like a Thermomix. Or a dishwasher. But really, I'll tell you a secret. Home appliances warm the cockles of my heart.

Bring on new appliances... just let me shop online for them.

* Receipt pile is under my monitor. Sounds hazy, but it's worked for the past three years. Receipts get put there, entered in my spreadsheet and filed in my tax file.
** Filing cabinet is top heavy and hazardous. Needs cleaning out and a decent system installed. Any takers?

Hoarders: Baby Edition.

I think I've finally cracked how to keep the high chair clean. It's quite simple, really.
Get someone else to feed the baby, in their house. Do you think that's a viable option?
Perhaps not.
Before Millie was born we were gifted a second hand Peg Perego Prima Pappa high chair. Beautiful padded seat, set on wheels, a great big tray. Gorgeous.

Mine is a blue/white check model.
image from pegperego.com
Then Millie started eating purees and it was ok. A good wipe afterwards and all seemed well.
As time went on, it turned into Millie swiping the spoon and sending puree flying all over the high chair tray. No biggie.
Then it turned in to 'YOU WILL NOT FEED ME. I DO IT MYSELF.' She can't talk yet, but I know that's what she said. So we give her finger food. I start scrubbing the high chair for a good 5 minutes after every feed to avoid the plague a build up of baby foods. Have you ever scrubbed for 5 minutes? It's a long time, especially if you hate cleaning as much as I do.
I took the padded cover off to give it a scrub and almost expired. It was like Hoarders: Baby Edition under there. Various... stains. A multitude of crumbs. There might have been some avocado stuck in there too. I was horrified. And embarrassed because I spend an inordinate amount of time scrubbing the blessed thing, only to have it look like this? Shame.
Millie's daycarer Kat has this brilliant high chair that has a tray that clips on and off, and I watched her clean that thing in 30 seconds flat. I got to thinking...
Ikea high chair?
Ikea Antilop High Chair.
image from ikea.com

Very nice. Tiny problem. No Ikea in Tasmania. And even worse? Only $20 for a high chair. Hrmph. Want.
I do some research online and find that there's not very many plastic only high chairs around. Millie and I go to Big W to look at high chairs and find that there's not much of a selection there either. I check out Target as well - still no dice. Parents everywhere seem to be of the opinion that Padded and Fancy is better. IT'S A TRICK EVERYONE. DON'T FALL UNDER THE GLORIOUSLY SHINY PADDED SPELL.
I look at the Big W online site and find this little number in an online only sale.


Mother's Choice Geo Grow With Me highchair
image from productreview.com.au

It has two high chair height settings and converts into a toddler chair. Mine for $40 plus delivery. The cover does come off, but it's pretty easy to clean so I've left it on for now. The tray slides on and off too and it super easy to wash with the dishes and leave to dry.
I'm still cleaning it obsessively, because I figure I've started with a clean high chair slate... let's not let it get dirty eh? It works beautifully and Millie seems to sit up a lot straighter in it too. I love it.
Now, the delivery was $16 to my part of the world... but I broke it down justified the crap out of it like this:

  • Drive to Hobart - $6 petrol each way
  • Pay for parking in the CBD - $5
  • Schlep Millie across the CBD - $5 in coffee for me to re energise after carrying the 9kg Millie
  • Schlep Millie and the high chair box back to car - $4 in chocolate for me as a reward for carrying the high chair box and Millie
  • Drive home with a potentially grumpy baby who may or may not scream for 45 kilometres - priceless
So you see - online shopping is cheaper.
Thus ends my high chair rant of the week.
What sort of high chair do you use? What do you think of it?