Christmas eve grocery sales pt 2 – 2014

From last year, we learnt that shopping at 7-9pm is the best time to go last-minute shopping. TWA goes shopping again in 2014 to discover which deals were the best in the Hills district!

With Macquarie Shopping Centre opening earlier this year, I went to discover what kinds of perishables were reduced at Woolies and Coles. Did you grab the bigger bargains? or did I? Let’s start off with Woolies at Macq Centre.

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$1 pawpaw per kilo is amazing!!! My friend and I bought one each for $1.30! #cheaperthanchips

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A Christmas party is one without mince pies- only 99 cents- less than $1 #advertisingatitsbest

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Go bananas with $.145 per kilo.. long gone are those $10/kg banana days.

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We then headed to Coles at West Pennant Hills and it was there we found our great bargains. Conclusion: Coles does it best. These kiwis were small, not too ripe but totally worth the 50 cents paid #healthykiwis

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Our favourite #pickoftheday was the 50 cents salad – a perfect compliment to our beach BBQ the next day!

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Of course Christmas eve sales ain’t Christmas eve unless there’s a rack of red and green!

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When we got to the deli, there were already pre-packaged cold meats. Everything was marked down to either $2 or $3, with savings from 50-70%. We bought 770g of turkey breast for $3! Normally turkey is $35/kg?

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Our final stop for the night is Woolworths again- but at Cherrybrook. The best thing about it was that there was a photo booth outside with free photos! #winning

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Like Coles, there were pre-packaged deli meats. There was plenty of variety including bacon, hams, prawns and other seafood. I must say, it wasn’t as much reduced as I thought- probably 30-50% but still great bargains.

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In terms of fruit, we had plenty at home and the shelves were becoming empty. Again, what an awesome Christmas eve grocery run!

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Christmas eve grocery sales): 4.5/5

Ambience: 4/5

Service: 4.5/5

Value: 5/5

Would I recommend going on a grocery run on Christmas eve? If you have no idea what you’ll be making on Christmas day, then this is your best bet. I must say, you have to learn to be flexible and be creative with the food you’ve bought, but treat it as a ‘mystery’ box challenge! I guess it’s what I do best!

Highlight: buying fresh produce at the lowest prices. Remember that shops are closed for two whole days so anything that expires then will have to go. Plus, workers want to go home earlier so it’s a win-win situation.

Suggestion of improvement: Would love for the supermarkets to give the leftover produce to shelters which feed the homeless. There should be pick ups.

Angela Bee

Granny Smith Festival 2014

City of Ryde’s Granny Smith Festival on Saturday 18 October, 2014 from 9am-8pm was more than a fiesta of apples, but a celebration of the community around the area.

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“The annual Granny Smith Festival celebrates the life and legacy of one of our district’s most famous citizens, Maria Ann Smith – aka Granny Smith – who, back in 1868, ‘accidentally’ grew the first batch of little green apples that bear her name and are now grown all over the world. ”

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With an estimated 80,000 people who attend each year, the event is supported by local businesses, sporting and service organisations, schools and the wider community – and EVERYONE gets involved – even the staff at Eastwood train station makes a special announcement after every train arrives. The experience starts from the moment you step off that train.

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The first thing I notice walking to the park next to the library is that even the library wall is painted with kids from multicultural backgrounds with Granny Smith Festivals! For those who don’t know, Eastwood is very Asian? Lots of chinese, korean, vietnamese food and shops. I love how they’ve embraced this!

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Walking in the park, it was like a school carnival! Flying chairs, spinning teacups, bumper cars, showbags.. there was the lot!

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They were mostly 5 coupons each (or $5) so head to the booth to gather your tickets.

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So do we ‘accidentally’ encourage children to gamble already…?

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The best kids toy out there was the dinosaur bubble gun. Honestly, how cool is that? Plus there’s a santa one as well.

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I honestly wished that I was a kid again. Everyone was buzzing around! The Country Cousins Barn was massive with a range of mostly goats and sheep.

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It was $2 a cup to feed them but be aware- they are more mature and could literally jump on your chest to grab it off you! If you’re like me and am scared of animals, this would not be your cup of tea.

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Heading to the furthest end of the oval were food stalls and crafty shops. A Granny Smith Festival is not a granny smith festival without toffee apples!!

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There was henna and caricatures drawn.

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I’m not sure if this is an actual trend but I’m noticing that chips-on-a-stick is like a thing. The fatty crispy goodness is the most popular snack at almost every festival I go to- I guess it’s cheap for a meal? =S

There were tons of stalls including Nepalese momos, Vietnamese rolls, Turkish gozlemes, Korean fishballs and more.

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We settled for the paella with the lot – jealous? It was delicious and made on the spot. It was very heavy on the sauces and it was enough for two people!

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Sitting down infront of the stage, we saw really fun acts from school groups and the community. I actually cannot believe how talented kids can be. Well.. I guess they are hilarious to watch and its just super cute. My favourite were the little kids in tutus.. and they did flips, the splits and all these groovy moves! (I kinda wished I went to dance class when I was a kid).

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Might I say, the crowd were loving it!

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Another thing City of Ryde were doing was a ‘test’ where you had to look up the clues on Facebook and Twitter, action the clue and then you’ll receive a slice of apple pie or apple cupcake. When we arrived, it was answering when the first granny smith apple was grown and thanks to the train station man, I was very close to guessing the right one! The answer was in the leaflet though.

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It was d-e-l-i-ciousss!

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Next to it was a photobooth promoting Grandparent’s Day on Sunday 26 October. It was so much fun dressing up!

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The Salvation Army had a massive amount of space and I’m surprised at how much they brought in! There were heaps of clothes, shoes, hats, accessories and homeware. They also had a coffee/hot chocolate van.

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Walking up on Progress Avenue near IGA and the fresh fruit market, there were so many clothing and jewelry shops it was absolutely amazing. There were some winning bargains including rings, bracelets and necklaces for $5?

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The queue was a bit hectic with the free face painting- I mean, who doesn’t want to look pretty?

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Another trend I’ve noticed were the lucky dips. When I was a kid, I used to love these!!! I must say, I love surprises.

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I also realised that a lot of community centres and churches were present. Macquarie Anglican were extremely popular with their balloon-making.

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OK, the next stall was the best thing ever- there were minecraft toys and accessories! You could get a showbag and there were swords, small creepers, TNTs, necklaces, even SUNGLASSES! This was amazing!

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Apparently these gold metallic tatts are ‘in’ right now.

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As always, The Avenue had plenty of food stalls and the scouts had $4 sausage sizzle which turned into $1.30 sausage sizzles. I loved how all the kids were excited to be squeezing tomato sauce and collecting money!

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The most popular of the lot was the place which did chorizo and garlic prawn rolls. It smelt so good and the line was possibly too long. I know they’re at Chatswood every week so defs popping by there!

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The Arcade area was decorated with colourful flags.

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These lovely ladies are proud of their home made jams and Christmas puddings. Such a lovely thing to do when you’re slightly older!

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Kids did sandpainting! I remember doing this as a child! All you had to do is rip the sticker off and fill it with coloured sand. It was so easy and it required no creativity. Everyone also had perfect pictures.

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Something that I should’ve bought were these cats on benches. They were only selling at $1.50-$2 each and they would’ve been a great accessory to my desk at work!

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I’m actually glad that the stalls I remember from my last Granny Smith Festival are in the same spot. In particular, the soft toys and fun stuff for the kids. I mean, there were even stuffed koalas and kangeroos which would’ve been a great souvenir gift if I was going overseas (if only).

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At the end of The Arcade was a clown amusing the kids with his party tricks! The kids got really engaged and were screaming and shouting in laughter!

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After this, we walked back onto Rowe Street where there were tons more stalls. The possibilities were endless..

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Candle Story offered candle cupcakes and rose soap! All you have to do is drop a petal into your bath tub and you’re set! How romantic..

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City of Ryde’s blackboard “Ryde is my community because..” asked the the community to share their thoughts on why they love Ryde. I wrote ‘transport exchange’ because it was literally where I would catch my bus to school every morning when I was at school. I didn’t even notice someone was watching me and I received a rugby ball as a prize – yay!

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Watch our for the moving tree- it will literally snip off your heads if he wanted!

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Infucious’ jars were fun! I didn’t realise how many different types of tea one person could supply! They even made tea-infused cookies which were delicious!

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At the end of Rowe Street was the iconic ice cream truck. It was a sunny day and we’d finally saw everything!! Took possibly 5 hours.. but we had a lot of fun!

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See you next year for your 30th birthday party, Granny Smith Festival!

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Granny Smith Festival): 4.75/5

Ambience: 4.5/5

Service: 4/5

Value: 4.5/5

Would I recommend going to Granny Smith Festival? If you live near Eastwood, I would highly recommend it. One of the things we’ve noticed is that a lot of primary school and high school kids come. For them, it’s a chance to hang out with friends and meet others! If you’re a shopper then this would be for you too! There’s so much going on its amazing!

Highlight: Everyone getting involved. It’s quite rare that the WHOLE community gets behind a festival. A lot of the shops in Eastwood have Granny Smith Apple decorations, signs, apples.. I can’t believe it! The stallholders and people in the area really make an effort and the attendance is spectacular!

Suggestion of improvement: Although there was a lot of green apples out and about in particular areas, I didn’t really feel it ‘celebrated’ Granny Smith? I think in previous years there were huge apples hanging from The Arcade which I guess got us in the apple spirit. Everything was well set up and I really liked the variety of stalls involved. Shame they all had to shut at around 5pm!! Should’ve stayed for the Bon Jovi Concert at 6 and the fireworks at 8pm.. ohwell! It was so much fun!

Link: http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Community/Special+Events/Granny+Smith+Festival

Official hashtag: #WeLoveGSF

Angela Bee

Kings Cross Festival 2014

Macleay Street Long Table made family- friendly eating in the middle of the road at Kings Cross an unexpected reality as part of the Kings Cross Festival at 10am- 5pm on Sunday October 12, 2014 with the surroundings of Fitzoy Gardens.

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“At this year’s Kings Cross Festival, you’ll find our local restaurants and cafes, all in the one place!”

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What comes to mind on Sunday at Kings Cross? Saturday nights could be a bit rough..maybe the occasional kebab on the way home…but if you wake up with a starving stomach, then this was the place to be. The variety of food was endless and if you were up for some wine tastings, there was the option too!

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Walking from Kings Cross station, I  honestly didn’t expect to see so many people around.

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Surprise surprise! There was a cooking demonstration going on.

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After purchasing wine glasses, 5 tastings for $15, there were a range of stalls to choose from.

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Nubian Estate and their proud owner.

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Batlow Cider Co had a delicious great of cider-duh. Thanks for letting me know that there are 3.5 apples in every bottle! That’s healthy, right? Or perhaps maybe too healthy?

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Alcofree had an assortment of alcohol- free drinks. The packaging makes the difference, aye?

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Artisans Bottega del Vino not only specialised in wine, but bread too!

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I remember going on my lunch breaks around Kings Cross earlier this year and the park was pretty dead except the few office workers who enjoyed the sun when it came out. Now look at how many people there are.

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Very close to the iconic fountain- ball thing was Puntino Trattoria. There were nonnas dressed in white making gnocchi at its best! Look at them go!

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$12 a plate and look at the enthusiastic chef stirring dem pasta! Remember: mixed plate = misto per favor!

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The absolute highlight of the festival were the long tables beneath the luscious green trees.  The fantastic thing about thee long tables are that you can socialise and meet other people from your community. There were also separate tables and a bar in the space.

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The favourite place the Events team at Cancer Council loved to go for lunch was Harajuku Gyoza. It’s reasonably priced and there’s gyozas with peanut butter, banana and Nutella and salted caramel. Sold. There was even a lady dressed up with pink hair! Sold.

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Overall there were a few taste testers here and there but the majority if food was $6 a plate. It’s so good you end up trying everything! Most of it is small little eats like tacos…

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Sweethearts rooftop sold their delightful beef brisket sliders and salads for only $3 each.

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Towards the back side if the festival, there’s some space to play giant chess.

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And to generally chill.

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At this side of the festival, there were stalls aside from food such as knit wear, bank stuff, pet food, games and a book shop.

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Did I mention there was a farm too? It was crowded! There was a $5 entry fee but the animals looked so cute! Check out the fluffy chicken!

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The stalls mentioned above were only a few I stumbled upon. Is could be worse than deciding at the Night Noodle Markets! Here, it’s cheaper and he portions are designed to  be small enough for you to go through courses and courses! Who doesn’t love a long lunch?

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Kings Cross Festival): 4.5/5

Ambience: 4.5/5

Service: 4/5

Value: 4.5/5

Would I recommend going to Kings Cross Festival next year? Are you a foodie? Or perhaps a wine lover just generally in the area? The eateries in the Kings Cross area have congregated to deliver the best of the best all at the same time for a celebration of food and fun.

Highlight: I haven’t seen long tables at food festivals before! It’s been mostly chairs and tables, or even funky chairs. Despite the lack of greenery around the area, the organisers have thought this one out! I also love the smaller eats from all the vendors. I love trying everything!

Suggestion of improvement: there were so many stalls I couldn’t believe how much of a community the people around the Kings Cross Area brings! I think everyone was heaps together but perhaps too together and it would’ve been better if there was more space between the tents- particularly around the food areas because it was a good squish!

Link: http://www.kingscrossfestival.com.au/

Occurs: Annually

Official hashtag: #kingscrosscolour

Angela Bee

Brewery Yard Markets – The Living Mall

Brewery Yard Markets launched last Sunday under the blue sky and blazing sun, where shops from The Living Mall and beyond came together to showcase their trendy products.

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“Held adjacent to Chippendale Green every second Sunday from 10am to 4pm, you will be delighted by street art, quirky crafts, jewellery, local designer threads, acoustic music and live entertainment.

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My oh my was it a beautiful day! Couldn’t really ask for better whether, aye? If you haven’t been to The Living Mall, it is a $2 billion urban village in Sydney, designed by the world’s leading architects to the highest standards of sustainable urban living. They’ve bought innovative shopping to Sundays with their newly launched markets and it was fabulous seeing so many people checking it out! So let’s cut to the chase.

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Heading the escalators, past Woolies and out into the open area, I noticed that all the outdoor restaurants had white fenced greenery with sun umbrellas for their customers to enjoy the summer sunshine. #winning

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There were so many stalls! I only expected a couple but it seems like everyone was willing to contribute!

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Say hello to the Museli Man!

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I have a feeling I totally agree with this sign..

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Since I last came to Central Park, there have been a few more cafes/restaurants that have popped up, one being Autolyse. The name itself doesn’t say much but the display of breads just made my mouth water. Did I mention that there were croissants and danishes to sample? Loved the crunch on the pastries- it was French-quality (and Angela approved) and I’ll definitely going there again!

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A good ol Aussie BBQ is an all-time favourite at the markets. You can’t go wrong by having one of the burgers for lunch!

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Work-Shop Gallery had a massive display including someone drawing live. I guess I’ve always liked my so it was fabulous seeing it come to life.

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Coco Cubano’s stall saw the virgin Mojitos and iced Granitas. Read my previous review of Coco Cubano here. For a sunny day like this, ice granitas are the perfect way to cool down.

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I love how Raw Eats aimed to educate passer-byers. They had a sign explaining what it means to eat ‘raw’ and its benefits.

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Speakeasy Co. are hand cut, hand brewed and hand poured hand-made candles.

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Pigeonhole had their quirky jewelry,  fun polaroids, and other fun stuff displayed.

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I love cactus’s. I’m not the best at watering plants and Huddle Co’s potted plants are definitely on my list of things I would love to buy.

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Have you tried Marysol’s Haberno and Ghost chilli sauces? I tried it and it aint for the faint-hearted!

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Remedia’s soaps were a specialty! How pretty are they? Check out the Orange Blossom and Organic Coconut, or perhaps the Black Forrest?

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I was so close to buying one of these Growing Books! Basically its a cactus planted in a book! I would totally put this on my work desk.

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After having a look at all the stalls, I settled at the back and joined the small-ish crowd listening to the tunes. #chillaxing

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Brewery Yard Markets, it was a pleasure visiting you on your first day! For me, these markets add a bit more fun and it’s really nice to go ‘outdoor shopping’. There were a lot of bits and pieces and this would be the place I would go to get presents for friends and even a bit of deco here and there.

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (Brewery Yard Markets): 4/5

Ambience: 4.5/5

Service: 4/5

Value: 4/5

Would I recommend going to Brewery Yard Markets? Like the outdoors? Maybe looking for some nice presents to give to a friend? Perhaps you just want a place to chill in the sun… head down to the Brewery Yard Markets and you’ll be delighted to a range of quirky arts and crafts, cool tunes and a diverse range of delicious food!

Highlight: Having a place where you can sit down and have a tan. Often markets are packed and too crowded. There’s no space to move, sit down and enjoy your freshly made lunch. Central Park has a massive open space so after you go around seeing all the stalls, you can sit back, chill, then go around again!

Suggestion of improvement: I loved the variety here and it wasn’t just stalls from The Living Mall but beyond that! It’s actually quite rare that so many shops in one place got involved but what I could suggest is maybe getting the public involved as well. Perhaps the talent from UTS or even USyd students? There are heaps of students around so they can definitely leverage on that.

Link: http://www.centralparksydney.com/shop/brewery-yard-markets

Official hashtag: #breweryyard #bymcomp

Angela Bee

Free Trial Magazine – GrabIt App

The first issue of GrabIT is free to download on iPads- it’s not your normal app, but an interactive magazine with video reviews, moving images and swipe through functions about iPad games which will blow your mind.

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“Grab It Magazine is a triple-A, digital video games publication created to the standards met by its founder, Chris Stead, presented natively in the digital format, using the medium’s strengths to deepen the reader experience and their connection to the games. Grab It Magazine is in itself an entertaining experience, but it also provides opinion, information and a direct channel to point-of-sale on all of the games showcased in each issue.”

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A good friend recommended this app to me and to be honest, I’m not really into gaming (although Runescape, Gunbound and MapleStory bring good memories of childhood back) but I must say, there are so many gaming apps out there so how do you know which ones to play? I was actually going to give myself an hour to go through and write this review, I did not expect to be pinned to the app and reading it for over an hour! I’ll have to explain why.

Go to your iTunes Store and download the app via this link.

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I’m going to leave the introduction a surprise. It’s loud, it’s big and it took me by surprise!!!! ;0

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Flick over a couple of pages and there are a neat set if instructions just before you begin the experience. I really liked how this was all an educating experience and not just on one page but is minimalised by the end of the magazine.

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By this time, you would’ve probably discovered why the name of the magazine is called “GrabIt’ because you literally can grab images, videos and texts. Compared to a physical magazine, you can scroll down and down and down (and down and down…).

There are several features such as ‘select song’, ‘tap for gallery’, ‘tap to read the review’. It’s amazing how technology can revolutionise the most simple tasks.. and probably the reason why I’m working/loving the tech industry.

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My favourite function would probably be “tap the pic to activate the security camera, then drag”. Or even an image that is actually a video! It’s kinda like being on Harry Potter and discovering more than what you initially see. I can’t wait to see when 3D magazines come out!  Soon it’ll be moving pictures – what we’ve all dreamt about! #methetechfreak

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In terms of the content, I really like the analytical and educational approach. It’s simple and a user like me would understand. That being said, I am currently a non-gamer (except the games I told you guys about before and the occasional app I play- NOT Candy Crush). At the bottom, there is a ‘verdict’ section where it pretty much gives you a quick summary.

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A special feature, ‘tap to grab this game’ is extremely useful because it immediately brings you to the AppStore to purchase the game if you’re interested. You won’t be left wondering how much the game you’re reading costs because at the top of the article, it will state the game’s developer, genre, price guide and IAPs.

Maybe I’m into this whole crowdfunding thing, maybe I’m not, but this magazine uses the platform really well by publishing a selected few games that you could help ‘kick start’. Games include rebuilding Deadsville from a zompocalypse, stacking as many hats as you can on a gentleman, helping a ninja monkey by giving wedgies to renegade seafood, helping The Drifter to find a cure for a disease, and solving your way through your afterlife to uncover your past as a deceased ghost.

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As you probably notice, it’s an independent publication and is socially driven so if you have an iPad, share it with your community and download the next episodes!

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GrabIT is a good place to start, discover and learn about interactive magazines so grab-it and read-it! It’s only $1.99 for each issue/episode but if you would like to read another GrabIt episode/issue for free, send me a message saying why ( in 140 characters or less) and I’ll pass you the (secret) codes to the first 5 readers.

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Product (GrabIt App): 4.5/5

Presentation: 4.5/5

Usability: 4/5

Value: 4.5/5

Would I recommend trialing the Grab It game discovery app? If you’re like me and waste time downloading the most useless gaming apps and not end up playing them anyway, then this is a great place to start. Being a girl, this actually appeals to me because I find it fascinating playing through the functions but the games suggested are more for the boys.

Highlight: I think I’ve said this multiple times, but the interactivity of it. The user experience side of the app was extremely well done. It took me a while to figure out that I had to tap towards the outside so I could skip the pages and go back to the home page, or if I wanted to read another article. You can also zoom out and tap the scroll like it’s a movie to skip and go to other pages and bookmark pages as well! It’s all easy to read and well formatted.

Suggestion of improvement: I love how there are ‘top iPad games’ and all these recommendations but it would be better if they were put into categories because I guess most people have a particular ‘type’ of game they prefer. It’s great that there is The Hive community and a screen dedicated to it in the middle of the magazine but I thought it was the end! I guess encouraging people to be part of the community can be done on every page! Remember to join their social networks, everyone! Also, the app only works on landscape..

Link: http://georiot.co/GrabItIssue0

Current Episode (7):  http://geni.us/GIs01e07

Grab IT: http://www.grabitmagazine.com/about-us.php

Angela Bee

Vogue Fashion Night Out 2014

The most crowded Thursday late-night-shopping night of the year is by far the annual Vogue Fashion Night Out, held from 5-10pm  at Pitt Street Westfield to Martin Place on September 4, 2014.

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”A global Vogue initiative, this one-night-only shopping extravaganza is Sydney’s largest retail event, attracting more shoppers than the Boxing Day sales!”

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To be frank, I’m not too sure about the “more shoppers than Boxing Day sales” part is accurate, but it is indeed one of Sydney’s biggest shopping evenings. But how did this year’s night out compare to previous years? Let me walk you through it.

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The weather was really nice at 5pm (although I didn’t get there until 6:30pmish) and then it started to sprinkle a little.. so the first half of the evening was nice. I made my way from Wynyard, briefly stopping at Martin Place.

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There were a few things going on: a British double decker where you could enjoy some drinks and nibbles, a lovely flower display where you could take Polaroids, a tent to try on foundation, and a series of food trucks with plenty of space around to have a sit and chat.

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I must admit the lines were shorter than expected, but as always, lines are always never ending. What I really like about Martin Place was that it was less crowded and cluttered, everything there was beautifully displayed. The food trucks looked a little out of place but there was plenty of room for people to eat.

Walking on Pitt Street towards Westfield, there was obviously a bigger crowd. The big bright light bulbs on either end of Pitt Street welcomed everyone and were probably the Instagram landmark of the night.

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Ok, I just want to give a heads up that I am no superwoman and did not go into every single store to check out the sales. Below is just a select few shops I came across that were worthy of mention.

H&M made a classy appearance with their exclusive store. I can’t wait til next month when it comes to Macquarie Centre!! #northwestpride

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Sportsgirl lived up to its expectations, with drinks, photobooth, nail art station and music! It’s pretty much the same every year so you’ll know where to get the party started!

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Review took a unique approach in interpreting what life-size poster looks like. Two women dressed in really cute dresses shared high tea with shoppers! #nailedit

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– I forget which clothes shop this was in Westfield but they had the most gorgeous orange and yellow arrangement of flowers with jars and jars of candy! It was definitely my favourite!

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Sambag had a fancy ice cream cart and let me tell you there was a reaaaaallly long line for it! I guess the scoopers were quite slow and paced it out but it would’ve helped if the line was inside the store so customers could have a look at their products?

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Swarovski had the best dressed man and women. Let me call them golden mermaids handing out chocolate.. heaven in a nutshell!

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.. whoops, lets segment to a bit of stuff happening on the stage…

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Vogue did an amazing job with the bright pink globes that look like Christmas decorations. I must admit, I actually kinda love it but the line was horrendously too long for a photo opportunity! It was starting to sprinkle too..

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Mimco was being a bit fun with these gaming machines!

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Very unexpectingly popular but I can see the novelty in them. I also got a bar of chocolate wondering around the store! #winning

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Secrets Shhh is a jewelry shop and the lovely harp mesmerised us inside. How beautiful. I’m wondering how they got it in the store! #sillyme

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Looking around this year, I must say that there weren’t as many people as previous years. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the timing, but nevertheless I always have a brilliant time coming here and checking out all the sales. It’s sales bonanza but I still wouldn’t say it would’ve been busier than a Boxing Day sale…

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Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)

Event (VFNO14): 4/5

Ambience: 3.5/5

Service: 3.5/5

Value: 3.5/5

Would I recommend going to Vogue Fashion Night Out? Love to shop? Love a sale? This is the event for you! Shopping is not just about looking for clothes, it’s about the whole experience- from the time you step into the store, to the moment you leave.

Highlight: I liked how some of the stores thought outside of the box. I remember last year I was absolutely sick of cake cake cake, lollies, lollies, chocolate, chocolate, sugar, sugar. Sometimes simple is best and even doing nail art is fun. I must say, savory/real food does help. I also liked how stores like H&M studio was designed so that it could still run if it was raining. Vogue was the same as well!

Suggestion of improvement: Sometimes its great getting lost and stumbling upon treasures you would never normally find! What I would’ve liked more is probably signs directing us to where shops are, or even a program telling us what time and where fashion shows were. It’s always a question and everyone wants to get involved!

Official hashtag: #VFNO

Link: http://www.vogue.com.au/fno

Angela Bee

 

Fresh Food Market Opening – Macquarie Centre

The opening of the Fresh Food Markets at Macquarie Centre from July 17-20, 2014 was the most jam packed experience I’ve ever had in my life in a shopping centre (excludes Boxing Day sales).

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“The first stage of the development—the Fresh Food Market—opened on 17 July, ahead of schedule and on budget. It includes 37 food and specialty stores including Coles, ALDI and a refurbished Woolworths”.

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When you walk from Event Cinemas, past the cute gozleme ladies, down the escalators, past the Chinese takeout eateries, towards Woolies, you’ll notice one big change. Bam. There are a million people packed in the same area, checking out the new shops and food markets- just like yourself.

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Since December last year and up until over a month ago, I used to work at Macquarie Centre. It was dead silent and there were the rare days we hit our targets but this, THIS was insane. You would’ve needed to triple your work staff. Kudos to the Macquarie marketing team for putting this on and all the new stores.

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As you walk inside, you’ll see a Chinese butchery, Tokyo Ramen and a few other stores on your right.

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On the left there’s a modern take of the popular Asian grocery, Miracle, and ‘$2.80 for everything’ at Daiso. It’s spacious, it’s gorgeous and Macquarie is definitely heading in the right space.

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There’s a queue to go up the escalators! But look upwards! The long screen advertising genius is on top of you!

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To the left is Aldi and to the right is Toys for Tales. They even had some life size characters and balloons floating around for the kids.

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Next to Aldi is Pancetta Markets. Did anyone else notice the guy who was holding a massive pancetta sign when you were driving to the centre? Must be a boring job but the dude was flipping that sign inside out! The produce there was a bit pricey but they did have some nice specials. The vintage, yet brand new look certainly helped with the sales and it’s actually pretty big!

The Moroccan lamb and I think cranberry sausage was my favourite at the butchery heading straight forward, but how about the dry meat that was hanging up on display? Would vegetarians be comfortable?

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There was a little aisle with Habitana, National Geo and stuff so that was quite nice.

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On the other side there’s Bakers Delight, a very very fancy version of a cafe which I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed as Michel’s Patisserie..and even a sushi train, Soul Origin and Nuts Galore and a few other stores bundled in the middle.

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There was also a greenery set up with food demonstrations at 10am, 1pm and 3pm. My brother and I went to the salmon one supplied by Costi’s and Healthy Life and those chunks were literally a snatch away.

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Heading towards Coles, Uel and Shannelle from last year’s My Kitchen Rules had cooking demonstrations. There was constantly a crowd around them and you had to be fast to grab their steak salad San Choy bow!

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Luckily I snagged one haha! I looooved the dressing and I hope they’re online somewhere!

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Coles also had tons of FREE SUSHI SAMPLESSSS! The Coles ladies were so passionate about giving free food!! I took advantage if this moment and got 3 pieces. I loved the crunchy onions and the mayo was spectacular!

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There was also pizza and all their salads on trial for us.

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I would that there are some nice cafés around. Greenery seems to be trending this hipster season and this one breathed it. They also had a deli and cakes which was lovely!

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I also loved the charity aspect oh giving a gold coin donation and receiving a little fortune cookie in return from OzHarvest.

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My brother and I spend so much time checking every aisle of every shop. For lunch we had the miso soup noodle at Tokyo Ramen for $8 and ordered extra ramen on the side for $3. It was sooooo busy and average.

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We also tried out the Snag Stand where there were was quite a line!

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If you’re coming here soon, don’t forget to check this place out because it’s going to be one of the biggest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere! Rumour has it that H&M will start up here, too!

I now leave you with the funky watermelon carvings from Woolworths.

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Rating Review: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Fresh Food Market opening at Macquarie Centre): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =)

Would I recommend going to the Fresh Food Market at Macquarie Centre? Can you believe how much competition there is amongst the shops? You have Woolworth, Coles and Aldi on the same level! That’s insane. That’s absolutely insane. Great place to grab your bargains and everything is new and top notch – yessssss!

Highlight: this might not be a highlight for everyone, but the crowd. It was so quiet when I worked the the Centre and now it’s full of people! It kinda sucks for North Ryde Shopping Centre but food here is good. I can’t wait until they release the fashion section in October! I also loved how much staff they had on the floor and helping everyone out. I must say that their marketing team needs a special thumbs up because the amount of people who came over the weekend was enormous!

Suggestion of improvement: there needs to be more signs..for the toilets, shops, rubbish bins..I’m actually now not too sure where the toilets are. I went back to the food court ones near the ice rink. Ohwell.

Ends: never

Link: http://www.macquariecentre.com.au/be-involved/whats-on/events/new-fresh-food-retailers

Angela Bee

Post Easter Egg Hunt – Big W

It’s just one day after Easter and the Easter egg sales have already arrived! Big W had the best sales at Macquarie Centre so come with me to investigate what they had.

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The reason why I chose Big W was that there weren’t really any other supermarkets that were selling heaps of chocolate. Woolworths had their Easter stock 25% off during Easter and I went in after work today and their hot cross buns are still (and has always been) 2 packets for $7. It’s still a great bargain though! I think Target might’ve been a good competitor but they are slightly pricier in general but they do really good sales post-Christmas.

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Just an FYI that Macq Centre got in a life-size Peppa Pig. I did not make good sales at DSW today simply because this pig was on stage oink-oinking!!

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Good stuff that Big W have placed some nice merchandise right next to their doors.

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On the other side was all Cadbury 50% OFF! #bargainwinning

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3 for $7 packets of chocolates including TimeOut, Flake, Crunchie, Dairy Milk, Picnic..

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Easter bunnies only going for $2.50!

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And there’s the Lindt and Ferrero Rocher range too.

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There are clearances everywhere! #nomnomnomnomnom

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Mostly Cadbury. #cannevergowrongwithCadbury

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I have a feeling that superstores like this purposefully overstock and use this as a great marketing tool to lure customers into their stores to generate more sales…

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Anyone else know of other post-Easter sales?

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (post-Easter chocolate sale at Big W): =D

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I recommend buying chocolate from Big W after Easter? The fact that I’m blogging about it makes it even better. Yes. If you need a year’s supply worth or if you’re late celebrating Easter because you were elsewhere then here’s the place!

Would I donate the money saved to my charity? If the charity organisation was to give an egg to a child in Africa, yes. This is what One Egg does: http://anglicanaid.org.au/oneegg

Highlight: eating the chocolate! I love how it’s all Cadbury and not those fake easter eggs that taste like plastic. This is the real deal!

Suggestion of improvement: If there are any leftovers, give them to those who are less fortunate.

Ends: I’m not too sure but I would say by the end of April?

Link: https://www.bigw.com.au/

Angela Bee

Fashion Saturday Garden Party – Westfield Hornsby

Be a fashionista for an afternoon with free front row seats at the Autumn Winter fashion show. Complimentary high tea, champagne glass in one hand and pen and paper in the other, and you’ll be set at Hornsby Westfield’s Fashion Saturday Garden Party that was held on Saturday March 1, 2014.

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Fashion Saturday hit Westfields in Sydney on March 1, offering a staggering amount of sales for the upcoming Autumn Winter collection to celebrate Australia Weekend Fashion Launch 2014.

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After booking online and securing two of 65 seats, my friend and I dashed through the pouring rain to the marquee located next to the iconic fountain in the middle of Westfield Hornsby.

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We had our names marked off and was given a glass of OJ in a flute. How classy!. Unfortunately the green floor was absolutely soaked so that was a shame.

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Tables of four with stands of high tea, including scones served with jam and cream (average) , ham and cheese sandwiches (normal), red velvet cupcakes (delicious) and macarons (yum) were politely waiting for us. It made us feel quite important!

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We didn’t really start eating until the fashion show started because we weren’t sure if there were gaps between the 5 collections. Of course we weren’t really here for the food but the fashion…

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The cherry blossom theme gave a light touch to the runway.

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The show started with Kristie Denny opening the parade. She explained that we would see clothes from stores in Westfield and also pointed out that there was a whole list of deals solely for Fashion Saturday.

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There were around 8 models and 5 shows. It started pretty late, 11:15 instead of 11, and ended at 11:40. Unfortunately due to the wet weather we only got to see 3.. a bit of a disappointment but what can we do. There was a lot of stuff from Sussan, Jeanswest, Dotti, Country Road to name a few.

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The kids with the balloons were so adorable! They were wearing Bonds a lot.

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There were also two other sessions and with one hour styling sessions to follow if you were up for it.

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Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Fashion Saturday Garden Party): =)

Ambience: =)

Service: =)

Value: =)

Would I go to  Fashion Saturday Garden Party again? I would send an email straight to marketing for their next one. Although the fashion wasn’t too ‘new’ in my terms, it was nice seeing and experiencing how a small scaled fashion show works.

Would I donate the money I saved to a charity? Look, if it was a $15 donation I would still go. Everything was nicely set and quite professional for something free of charge. The layout was very simple and there were no complaints in terms of viewing, etc. It was just a shame that it was pouring rain!

Highlight: The kids on the runway! We have a theory that it was one of the female model’s children because there was an elder lady talking to the children afterwards who looked like that female model. Anyways, they ere both quite shy but knew their queues. So adorable. Seeing what the stores displayed was quite interesting too because I have seen most of it in their stores. Models just make everything prettier. Daym.

Suggestion of Improvement: to be frank, I don’t think the fashion show showcased ‘new trends’. It was more a display of basics and everyday clothes. There wasn’t anything new we hadn’t seen in previous years but I guess that was the point- to encourage locals to purchase from the stores at Westfield Hornsby. It was supposedly a Autumn Winter collection, however we didn’t see any coats or scarves, or even accessories. There was a lot of cute things but nothing extraordinary. Also would’ve been nice to see all 5 collections and have pens to jot down notes..

Ends: March 1, 2014, but I think it runs every season.

Link: http://www.westfield.com.au/hornsby/events/2518

Angela Bee

$5 Summer onesies – Fashion 21

Summer onesies ranging from penguins, piggys, cows, and more for only $5 at Fashion 21, Macquarie Centre.

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Next to Shingle Inn on Level 2 of Macquarie Shopping Centre, a shop only sells onesies. That’s right. Only onesies.

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The hexagon display outside shows a cute variety of animals, dragons, Hello Kitty, Stitch, Pikachu and other childhood favourites.

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I absolutely loved this bow-tie onesie

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…but it turns out that it actually had a cat hoodie rather than a penguin, which I imagined.

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There are sizes for all ages, including this little pink pig for the children!

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I bought this cow one for my 12 year old cousin. We honestly need an onsie party. Can someone throw one?

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Winter/normal onesies are also available for $25 each.

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Review Rating: =D =) =| =(

Product ($5 summer onesies): =D

Ambience: =)

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I buy a $5 onesie if I had the opportunity? Well, seeing as I already have a giraffe onsie at home for myself and a kangeroo one which my mum gave me dad, I wouldn’t mind completing the family of onesies with one for my mum and brother. It’s so cheap! I wonder how much they are at cost price. It’s probably even cheaper than online shopping and doesn’t require shipping costs or waiting time. Bam.

Would I buy a $15 full priced summer onesie? Yes, I actually did for someone’s birthday because I thought it was a fun present. Not every day you’d get this right? And what do people wear at sleepover parties these days? Oh and by the way onesies are always acceptable for every themed party.

Highlight: handing those gold coins in exchange for a packaged little onesie. I love it! It’s so good! That’s why clearance sales are the best.

Suggestion of improvement: I wish they did this earlier, but I guess its the end of summer, right? It would be better if the store was less crowded because it was hard to find the shop owner with the amount of people in the small store!

Ends: ‘Clearance’ = while stocks last

Link: I don’t have one, but I personally talked with the shop owner to triple confirm.

Angela Bee