Thursday, February 21, 2013

All for onesies, and onesies for all!

I'm pleased to see that freelance work pants, aka 'sleep pants', are currently $4 at Big Dubs, unlike the extravagant $5 I paid last year. I have three pairs of these pants and they do hard duty as sleepwear and workwear. I might invest in some more.

However! I was super-excited to learn that Big Dubs is now selling 'sleep suits' – aka, ONESIES! I'm not sure if there's a men's version, but the women's size 8-16 version is $19, as is the girls' size 8-16 version, and the girls' size 1-7 version is $17.88.

As far as onesies go they aren't the most practical. They only button down to the waist, so you'd have to undress completely to use the toilet. They also seem quite tight, which makes me wonder if they would pull awkwardly in the crotch if you're tall.

If you'd prefer regular flannel PJ pants, there are some jaunty polka-dot ones for $9.94, or various prints for $7.96.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Seriously jaunty Big Dubs fashions

Big Dubs' latest catalogue seems calculated to appeal to my tastes for bright colours, crisp silhouettes and bold stripes and spots. Check out the front cover:

You can get a pair of skinny dark-denim jeans for $9, or coloured jeans for $14.98 – but only if you wear size 8-16. If you wear size 18-26 the jeans are $20.

I have tried these jeans on in the past and am sad to report that while the colour range is terrific, none of the sizes look good on me. The straight-sized jeans cut cruelly into my waist, while the plus-sizes are saggy and shapeless, especially in the crotch. Perhaps you'll have more luck.

This is a seriously cute jumper. It's $19. I'm suspicious of the way they've styled it in the pic – I'm not sure if it will be fitted or loose, and how long it will be.

Boat-neck, 3/4 sleeve T-shirts in stripes and plains are $12.92, and short-sleeved T-shirts are $7. There's also a 'boyfriend-fit', round-necked, 3/4-sleeved top with very thick black and white stripes for $14.98, which Big Dubs is calling a rugby top"; but fear not, it has no polo-style collar. I have so many striped T-shirts I will try to resist, but sometimes I think I am beyond help; I recently bought myself a men's striped T-shirt.

Speaking of menswear – and sportswear – my eye was drawn to this 'leather look baseball jacket' for $40. It's probably super trashy, but I kind of like the preppiness of it, and it looks quite plain so you could jazz it up with badges, or if you are a crafty type you could get some of those iron-on or sew-on letters to rep your own imaginary varsity team.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BB creams at BBig W

Yes, I'm fascinated by BB creams. Of the Western brands I've tried, Rimmel is my favourite: I like that it's SPF25, and it has decent coverage that makes my skin look more even. It's way less greasy on me than the Garnier, although if you have very dry skin you may appreciate the Garnier grease.

Anyway, for a while now I've been looking for an excuse to try Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream.

It trumps Rimmel with SPF30, but all the online reviews I've read suggest the coverage is very sheer – it's more like a tinted moisturiser than a true BB cream. But until 27 February, it's $11.48 (save $4) at Big Dubs, so that's a good excuse to try it.

But since I have become a fan of the Rimmel BB cream, that's on special at Big Dubs as well – $9.74 (save $3). And if you like the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector, that's $10.42 (save $3).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Introductory offer on fancy London shirts

Recently I was surprised to find a Charles Tyrwhitt catalogue tucked in among the usual supermarket and discount department store junk mail. It's a very high-end purveyor of men's business shirts, ties, suits, etc.

The copy in the brochure ("I believe you cannot buy a better shirt anywhere at any price") was quite charmingly persuasive, because mail-order people just don't pimp their stuff in that formal yet personal voice any more.

The company, I learn, was founded by Nicholas Charles Tyrwhitt Wheeler in 1986, while he was a student at Bristol University. Wheeler came from good establishment stock, having previously been educated at The Dragon School and Eton College. His first job was as a management consultant but the mail-order shirt business proved so successful that he set up a shopfront in Jermyn Street, which is to fancy shirtmakers what Savile Row is to tailors.

Charles Tyrwhitt now has separate websites in the United States and, as of last October, Australia. The offer in the catalogue I received was that for the "next 10 days only", their shirts are only $39.50 (normally $140 or $160).

The shirts come in an appealing range of textures and patterns, and seem to have either regular or cutaway collars. There are classic fit, slim fit or extra slim fit, in either regular or non-iron versions. There is also quite a nice range of 'business casual', casual and polo shirts. All come with a six-month guarantee.

The 'next 10 days bizzo' seems really odd, as how would they possibly know when you received the catalogue? However a search for the fine print reveals that this offer ends at midnight on Saturday 8 June 2013. So no need to rush. Check out the website.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Absorb the savings

My friend Andrew describes his house as 'dank'. It's always damp and things get mildewed really easily. If you have the same problem with excessive moisture, solve it for cheap at Aldi.

From Saturday 16 February, Power Force Moisture Absorber is at Aldi for $3.99 for a 354g tub. It's basically calcium chloride crystals, and they reckon it lasts up to 75 days.

Put a tub under the sink, in bathrooms, basements and garages, on bookshelves, in wardrobes and linen cupboards, and anywhere else that needs to be dry and free of mould and mildew.

This stuff might also come in handy if you drop your phone or other small electronic device in water. The usual advice is to seal it in a bag with dry rice, but these crystals might work too.

Adults own ladders

Sometimes I worry that I am not a functional adult who can fix my own shit. One of the grown-up possessions I do not yet own is a ladder. This means that I am helpless to change smoke-alarm batteries or high-up light bulbs, pick fruit off the trees in my backyard, clean my roof gutters or reach things in high cupboards without dragging chairs around.

But there are some inexpensive ladders at Bunnings that can take me a few steps further up to adulthood. For reaching high shelves, there's a two-step folding ladder for $18.90. This can be tucked in a cupboard or shed, or around the side of the fridge, when not in use.

Of the various higher ladders, I think the best value is the Rhino Dual Purpose Aluminium Ladder at $89. You can use it as a regular A-framed step ladder up to 1.8m, or flip the other side up to make a 3.3m straight ladder for leaning against walls, etc. It takes 120kg.

If you invest in a ladder, you'll get years of use out of it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Green up your house

I find indoor plants very restful. I feel it makes your house look much better. Of course I am too cheap to get a large one, so I have a collection of small, pitiful plants rather than the major green room feature of my dreams, but there are some great garden bargains around at the moment.

At Aldi, 140mm indoor plants are $7.99. You can get (L-R) sago palms (in NSW, Victoria and ACT only), peace lilies, Zanzibar gems and magic beans.

At Bunnings, you can get a 130mm Easy Care Calathea Orbifolia for $8.24. These are quite nice-looking.

It's part of the Easy Care range of indoor plants that are all the same price. I guess it's a lottery which ones you get at various Bunningses.

Bunnings also has 30cm hanging baskets (with liner) for $3.98 and 35cm baskets for $5.36. These would be good if you only have a courtyard or balcony, but would still like some greenery.

And there are 'Grow Your Own' vegetable seedlings for $2.94 (which may include tomatoes, lettuce, capsicums, chilli, beans, peas, carrots, eggplant, sweet corn, silverbeet and zucchini), and 'Flying Start' 70mm perennial plants for $2.97.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

$1 tea is now at Coles

Gotta love a duopoly. If you missed the $1 Twinings 10-pack teabag bargain at Woolworths, it's now on at Coles until next Tuesday, 19 February.

Now, like me, you can crack a Prinny… or, indeed, enjoy your favourite other tea variety. But I just like saying "crack a Prinny".

It's sew good at Lincraft

Have you ever wanted to sew your own clothes or other fabric projects, but baulk at the cost of getting a sewing machine and the hassle of borrowing one?

Well until Sunday 17 February at Lincraft, the Singer Simple 3221 sewing machine, its introductory model, is $179. That seems like a pretty hefty saving to me; it's usually $300.

The machine comes with 21 inbuilt stitches, an automatic needle threader (which is great, because one of the most annoying things I recall about my childhood attempts at sewing was figuring out how to thread the damn thing), adjustable stitch length and a one-step buttonhole function.

It also comes with a three-year warranty and a bonus instructional DVD.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Can't boot this bargain

At Big Dubs right now you'll pay $9.94 for rain boots for the whole family! Men unfortunately only get your bog-standard black knee-high gumboots, but women and kids get ankle boots in a jaunty array of colours.

The women's boots are pictured above (I think the yellow ones are my favourite); they come in sizes 6-10. Kids' boots come in lime green, purple, orange, cobalt blue and yellow, in sizes 10-3.

It might still be boiling hot, but soon enough it'll be raining and you'll suddenly find a hole in your shoe and wish you had taken advantage of this bargain.

NQR opens in Coburg

NQR Grocery Clearance Stores, which you may know as a place where students and poor people go to buy random, weird end-of-line groceries at super-cheap prices, is opening in Coburg. Here's a map.

View NQR Coburg in a larger map

If you're familiar with the area, the mall is set slightly back from Louisa Street with car parking. It's also quite near Coburg station.

Anyway, they have some opening specials and whoever wrote the catalogue copy is really enthusiastic about terrible puns. More so than me! For instance, SPC Pear Halves in Syrup are 69c an 825g can. They say: "Pearfect low prices!" And sour cream and chives flavoured Corn Thins are 79c a packet, about which they say, "No more feeling sour about high costs!"

But what caught my attention was that they have one-litre UHT packs of Zymil Low Fat Milk for 69c each. This represents a 72% saving on the regular retail price. Zymil is an easy-to-digest lactose-free milk.

Be your own Valentine

This time of year the shops are full of 'romantic' tat for Valentine's Day – lingerie, roses and chocolates, mainly. But why give that stuff to someone else when you can give it to yourself, lover?

In particular, I think I might treat myself to some half-price fancy chocs at Woolworths. Guylian heart-shaped Belgian chocolates are $3.99 for 100g (save $4), while a 400g bar of Toblerone is $4.99 (save $5).

Also half price are packs of 10 Borg's frozen spinach and ricotta pastizzi at $2.99 (save $3). I first bought these to serve at my book club meeting, since I am hopeless at actually making hors d'oeuvres, but afterwards I discovered that leftover pastizzi make a delicious lazy dinner. Just pop the damn things in the oven.

What could be an easier Valentine's Day dinner while half-pissed on cheap 'champas'?

Monday, February 11, 2013

I'll drink that for a dollar

I love it when the supermarkets have tea specials, because I can build up a mix-and-match collection of different varieties.

Anyway, Woolworths currently has 10-packs of Twinings teabag varieties for $1 each (save up to $1.12). The last time they had this special I spent around $10 and had an instant tea library to the point where I was ridiculously tailoring my cuppa to the time of day and my mood.

But it's my experience that the popular varieties (eg English Breakfast) sell out very quickly, so get down there to snaffle your favourites.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fancy butter, not-fancy price

I have previously described Lurpak as the 'El Expensivo' butter brand. My housemate buys it at regular price because she has fine tastes, whereas I settle for Mainland Buttersoft.

But my Buttersoft is almost out, and I think I might take advantage of Woolworths' special on Lurpak Spreadable: it's just $3.50 (save a whopping $1.50).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

More sparkling bargains

As I never tire of saying, this is my Summer of 'Champas' and so I perk up when there are sparkling wine bargains to be had. First Choice Liquor has an intriguing 'Sparkling Bundle': a bottle of Grandin Brut NV (which is one of the better French cheapies) plus two bottles of B Francois Blanc de Blancs for $28 (save $14 off the individual bottle prices).

I have never heard of B Francois but it's from the Loire Valley and allegedly has "ripe apple fruit and toasty flavours". This bundle is a very good deal as single bottles sell for $14, or they're at Vintage Cellars for $13.49.

First Choice Liquor also has Pol Clément Blanc de Blancs for $7.26. At that price you don't lose much if you buy it and it turns out to taste terrible. (It's also available at Liquorland for $10.)