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

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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

Cotton On Clearance Outlet Alexandria

Forget going to Boxing Day sales when factory outlets have the cheapest bargains everyday in Alexandria, around 15 minute walk from Redfern Station or 5 minutes from Green Square station (1 station from Central on the Airport Line).

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$2 samples and seconds are exclusive to the Clearance Outlet, so grab those shopping baskets and fill it up with random items of clothing… that you normally wouldn’t buy- but it’s ridiculously too cheap!

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The huge red posters in the front windows help attract the shop’s attention.

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Nothing over $5 on the wall, and nothing over $10 on the racks.

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Racks and racks of samples and faulties. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack at times. But once you’ve found something amazing, you won’t regret coming.

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Cotton On Body offers a great selection as well.

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Tables and tables of shoes!

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Sunnies for $3.. I’m not worried about the branding! I tend to loose mine anyway. I’ve got 4 pairs at home..

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There is even a huge selection for men’s.

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Try the clothes on but beware- there are no lights so it’s hard to get changed around the black curtains.

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Maxi dress and a guy’s shirt that I wear as my pjs were $2 each.

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These funky skirts were $2 only.

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All these shoes I bought for $2 each, except the sneakers for $10.

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Even staff only gets 50% off full priced items. At this rate, you’ll have a new wardrobe in one trip.

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (clothes): =)

Ambience: =)

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I go everyday to Cotton On Clearance Outlet? YUP! I used to intern at Cardinal Spin, which is only one block away and almost every week I would return with a red Cotton On bag. Oops. The quality of clothes isn’t bad either. Some of the stock isn’t the best in the $2 section but lots of the new stuff is around $5. Score!

Would I pay full price for the items I bought? I would definitely buy that maxi dress for full price and possibly the skirts because they are really nice and are marked down from $20-$40 so that’s amazing. I wouldn’t get the shoes normally because I would prefer comfort and sunnies break often so I wouldn’t pay the full fare.

Highlight: Going through the clothes on sale! There are so many items of clothing, accessories, shoes, etc.. you’ll end up spending your whole lunch break there..

Suggestion of Improvement: Some of the items are clearly labeled and I wasn’t too sure at first BUT if it has a ‘S’-like mark using red then it’s only $2. I liked how if there was something wrong with something, it would be written on the tag but the biggest downfall is spending more than you need. That isn’t a bad thing.. right? Lighting for each of the change rooms would be useful, too.

Ends: never

Link: http://shop.cottonon.com/stores/

Angela Bee

Sunbeam Factory Outlet Alexandria

Appliances over 50-70% off are what everyone who is moving out of home needs. Come on over and save a truckload of cash.

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Sunbeam makes “products for real people, and real, Australian needs. Through cutting-edge innovation and intelligent design, we aim to make it easier and simpler for you to do those things you do every day: clean, cook, organise, or even entertain.”

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Walking inside, there is a sign outlining the terms and conditions. Note that all items are seconds or samples. The best thing is that there is a 1 year warranty on these items.

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Stacks of white goods are clearly displayed with one of each item displayed.

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I really like how they have arranged each appliance from cheapest to most expensive. Makes my life easier and not looking up and down the aisles at supermarkets!

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Drive your car because for the prices you get here for the quality of household items is pretty amazing.

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Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Sunbeam appliances): =)

Ambience: =D

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I come to Sunbeam Factory Outlet if I needed white good? Of course I would! I could easily go to Kmart and prices would still be similar to the discounted price but these should most definitely last longer and are of better quality.

Would I lay full price for the kitchen appliances available? For some, yes however I would much rather go to a cheaper place if possible. Good and cheap are my mottos.

Highlight: Visual merchandise display is extremely good. There is the ‘factory outlet’ layout but the store is not overly crowded. As mentioned before, I really love how they have the cheapest to most expensive displayed and also he amount you save!

Suggestion of improvement: Sunbeam needs to stand out as a more excellent quality brand in comparison to others. I’d probably suggest a 2 year warranty to secure more sales and to ensure customers the second and samples are of similar quality to its full priced items.

Ends: never
Link: https://www.sunbeam.com.au

Angela Bee

Australia Day merchandise – Woolworths

Australian Day stubbies, flags, wigs, sunnies, beach mats, hats, inflatables, towels- you name it! It all goes on sale after the day has passed.

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I checked out a few stores including Big W and Target but Woolworths had the cheapest and best souvenirs. Surprisingly the others only had Back2School sales. Weird.

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A nice little stand with the goods. Easy to navigate ad right at the front. Almost everything was $1.

$6 fleece throw and beach towels. The designs aren’t that great though…

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I bought wine coolers and stubbies for my French family who were due to arrive the next day. #winning.

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Tim tams are half price this week! Only $1.62.

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Shapes are too.. but since when are Honey BBQ Chicken an ‘Aussie’ flavour? Last year’s BBQ was a-mazing!!

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This is what I call cheap souvenir shopping. Beats going all the way to Paddy’s markets (if you don’t live near the city)!!

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (Australia Day merchandise at Woolworths): =D

Ambience: =)

Service: =)

Value: =D

Would I buy more Australia Day merchandise at Woolies? I better stock up for next year’s parties! Best deals out there!! Of course!

Would I pay normal price for the merchandise? If I had no choice and wanted to go all out, why not?! Who doesn’t love a costume party? On the other hand if you want to save a bit, there’s no harm in buying early.

Highlight: Looking at my receipt and seeing how much I saved. Don’t you love reading the end of the receipt?

Suggestion of Improvement: Leftover stock is obviously not available in every store. I say, bring in more!!

Ends: until stock runs out after Australia Day (January 26)

Angela Bee

$1 pearl earrings – Michael Hill

$1 perfect pearl earrings? Get OUT!

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“With exclusive rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets and more, we offer you everything from inspired collections that reflect global trends to timeless classics you’ll want to wear again and again.” -Michael Hill website

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My friends became #thewalkingadvertisement today when they thoughtfully came in to where I worked and showed me the $1 pearl earrings they bought.

How on earth does this happen? I, myself cannot know how the shop at Macquarie Centre did it, nor would I know how many they had, but apparently this promotion was across all Michael Hill stores.

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I immediately went on my lunch break and headed over to hand over a tiny gold coin for a precious gift. I bought it for my manager since it was her birthday next week. Free gift wrapping available too.

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The store is located opposite Supre, a bit further up from The Coffee Club at the Food Court.

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Online, the cheapest pearl earrings I found on its website http://www.michaelhill.com.au/ was $29. When you click ‘Quick View’, it compares the earring to similar companies.

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Check out their January sales.

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I have the best friends ever. Unbelievable. China can’t even beat this.

 

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (pearl earrings): =D

Ambience: =)

Service: =D

Value: =D

Would I buy more $1 pearl earrings? Is this even a question? YES! I’ll buy 100 and give them away to my friends haha!!

Would I pay $29 for the pearl earrings? Yes? My parent bought me some black pearl earrings from their $99 China Tour and it was $AUD 15 approx. In a normal circumstance I would anyway. They’re a classic. Wearing them would be another story..

Highlight: Handing over that $2 coin and getting $1 back for change. Even the lady at the counter had a huge grin on her face. Is this even possible? I guess they are making huge amounts of money from everything else. Maybe they marginalized on their profit over the Christmas and New Year sales?

Suggestion of Improvement: Please bring in more!!!!

Ends: Oops, I think I took the last one at Macquarie Centre. The sales assistant told us to go to Chatswood to have a look.

Angela Bee

Kikki.k $10 voucher

Sign up to be a Kikki.k member in store or online to receive a $10 voucher within 7 days, excluding sale items.

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Kikki.i embraces the Swedish design principles of form and function to create seasonal collection of delicious stationery, gorgeous gifts and organization solutions.

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The cute but quite expensive stationery shop offers everything from diaries, pens, folders, wallets and lots more.

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I must admit, I absolutely love a boutique full of extremely quirky yet adorable stationery, gifts and home ware.

So yesterday I took the liberty of stepping in store and taking a photo of everything under $10 which isn’t on sale. Of course this isn’t everything but this will give you an idea of what you could get.

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Wrapping paper $3.95

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Birthday cards

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Wooden candle holder $9.95  and cloud ornament $7.95

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Wooden pens or clips $9.95

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Heart magnets $3.95, cotton ribbon $7.95

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Wooden stamp sets $9.95 (left, middle), $6.95 (right)

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Pencil case $9.95

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Pens from $1.95

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Notebook elastic $5.95, magnets $9.95

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Stickers $3.95, pen $3.95

But good news- you get another $10 voucher on your birthday and you can even use it on sale items too! #Win !

https://www.kikki-k.com/customer/account/login/

Review Rating: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product (stationery etc): =)

Ambience: =)

Service: =|

Value: =D

Would I sign up and use a $10 voucher everyday? $10 is not much compared what a diary, homeware and folders cost. Getting $10 off would be magic but the price of each product is still slightly out of my price range.

Would I pay full price for the items I bought? If there was a 50% sale on items I would possibly spend on a really really good friend of mine. If not, I would just go to Typo or make/design my own stuff (I have time because I’m unemployed lol). Short answer: No.

Highlight: Great things come in small packages! Simply signing up I got some free money and if I need a nice pen, some stickers for scrapbooking, then this is the place to go.

Suggestion of Improvement: Publicize this! All this was told to me by a sales assistant at Macquarie Centre Kikki.k. We all want to know! I was getting a gift for a friend and they only told me just before I paid that I could get a voucher! I still haven’t received it but apparently it takes 7 days… Also, wrapping paper is $3.95 and they ask you if you want it wrapped without letting you know the price. Well, now you know!

Ends: never

Angela Bee

Direct Shoe Warehouse Macquarie Shopping Centre

This might be the smallest warehouse I’ll ever step into but this cute little shoe shop right opposite Dymocks has a few surprises.

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$9 shoes.

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Enough said.

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How and what can go wrong with $9 shoes? Believe me, and I mean, look deep into my eyes if you dangerously want to compare price with quality. Is it wrong to say that I work here? Well in fact, I do and I know how much these shoes cost at cost price and DSW are NOT making any (much or if any) money from these sales. Court Couture and Therapy are extremely popular brands.

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You’re probably asking why, right?

  1. DSW Macquarie opening earlier this year in March so it’s been less than a year since their first trade and so many people still don’t know they exist.
  2. There are tons of competitors like Novo, Williams, Freelance Shoes around in the Centre.
  3. The car park has been a downfall and more shoppers are going to Top Ryde because there’s just no parking.
  4. It’s Christmas and presents are for everyone! Christimas parties, weddings, New Years celebrations….
  5. It’s part of a branch of a group, DSW, so they can afford it at this stage.

What’s even more exciting is that DSW Macquarie offers 5% discounts to those with student IDs. It isn’t heavily promoted but it does help you save those extra $$.

2013, DECEMBER - DSW Macq - photo 7

There’s also a Christmas special with 30% off all shoes! Honestly, it’s so cheap and comfy I don’t know why you’ll be going elsewhere..

Rating Review: =D  =)  =|  =(

Product ($9 shoes): =)

Ambience: =)

Service: =D

Value: =D

Would I buy another $9 pair of shoes? Of course! Considering the ‘normal’ prices are normally $39.95, which is a quarter of what it’s normally sold at.

Would I spend $39.95 on the same pair of shoes? Nope. Who knew spending could be so cheap? There’s a 30% off storewide sale at the moment so that’s definitely worth looking into.

Would I buy the same deal again? Yes but for other types of shoes.

Best thing: the cheapness but the downside is that it’s first come first serve basis. Sizes and designs vary.

Suggestion of Improvement: Have more in stock. The same style, size and colour of the shoe you want might be $9 in Macquarie, but aware that sales differ from store to store.

Angela Bee