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How to win at Boxing Day sales

24 December 2013, by Rachael Ciccarelli

2013 Boxing Day

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Congratulations, soldier. You’ve made it through the Christmas Season of Extreme Silliness unscathed and only one notch looser on your belt. For this, you deserve a reward. May I suggest an array of deals at this year’s Boxing Day sales? I know, I know - they get bigger and more intense every year, but you’ve got to rock them or feel the crushing regret of paying full price for new towels in March. Lucky for you, I have served many an intense sale on both sides of the counter and have come away with many lessons to help you not only survive the sales, but to emerge a victor, waving your purchases above your head in triumph as you walk slow-motion out of the store to the cheers of your fellow shoppers.

  1. Go in with a plan
    Consider what you actually need before you hit the shops. Make a list, or form a vague one in your mind so when you arrive and are affronted with mountains of discounted goods, you know what you’re looking for, how to move through the premises and you come out on the other side faster with things you actually need. Of course you are going to be distracted by something fantastic that wasn’t on the list, and that’s fine – that’s what bargain hunting is all about – but if you at least have an idea of what you need, you’ll feel in charge and it will keep the stress to a minimum.
  2. Get the essentials
    The greatest things to buy on sale are usually the most boring: underwear, haberdashery, leather goods, wardrobe basics. Use the sales as an opportunity to stock up on those often overlooked corners of your world, and stock up well – buy quality that will last (and feel great) while it’s affordable. It’s also a fantastic time to stock up on little miscellaneous gifts (hand creams, candles, fragrances, books) that you can give at all of those last minute birthday parties you’re invited to.
  3. Think before you buy
    Here’s the thing: if you never use your awesome bargain sales item, it’s not an awesome bargain. Whatever you’re diving for that you would never ordinarily consider, be it feathered hat or cupcake maker, think first. What are you going to wear it with? Do you already have something like it (like, I don’t know, a cake tray and an oven and parental supervision) that will do the job? If you’re not one to get things altered or mended, don’t buy it on the premise you will (because you won’t).
  4. Eat first
    Just do it. If you’re preparing yourself for the long haul, the last thing you want to be feeling when you’re knee-deep in party dresses is a growling stomach and a caffeine headache.

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Category: Featured
Tags: Fashion, Special Occasion, Trends

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Gift Guy-de

19 December 2013, by Rachael Ciccarelli

2013 Gift Guy

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HAHAHAHA see what I did there. Oh man, the year end must be drawing close because a) word play is getting more abstract and silly with every hour and b) tired and emotional isn’t an unfortunate state, it’s now a way of life – I listened to a podcast yesterday where some girl who had been keeping an audio diary found out that she didn’t have the Huntington’s that had plagued her family – didn’t, it was a happy ending – and I, the dead on the inside ruthless journo with a heart of ash and dirt, still welled up and ruined my makeup. How are you guys going? Let’s just say that none of us are in any state to make any serious decisions and we’re lucky holidays are just around the corner. Cheers!

Oh. Wait. I haven’t bought any gifts for my boyfriend or my brother or my dad yet. Because they are men, I’ve tricked myself into believing that they are low maintenance and therefore easier to buy for, leaving them to the last minute where I’m so exhausted and emotionally unstable the sight of a particularly adorable puppy poking it’s head out of a basket will probably leave my knee deep in Kleenex. Last minute gifts… why do we do this to ourselves every year? Perhaps we’re all closet masochists. But while I’m looking, I might as well give you a hand as well…

For your dad:

2013 Gift Guy 1

Image sources: Jamie Oliver Big Boy portable BBQ, $30, from Woolworths; Nespresso by Delonghi machine, $159, from Myer; Dick Smith turntable and radio, $69.98, from Dick Smith.

You know what your dad would love? More opportunities to barbecue, in more remote and unusual places. Sheltered beach in Esperance? Picnic in a park with no cooking facilities? Don’t worry folks, he’s got this one covered. Pulled over for lunch on the side of the road during an epic cross country journey? Steaks for everyone!

For your plus one:

2013 Gift Guy 2

Image sources: Angus Flip ID Bifold wallet, $59, from Fossil; MiGear Action Cam, $98, from Dick Smith; Dolce and Gabbana DG4196 foldable glasses, $490, from Sunglass Hut.

The key to your man’s heart this Christmas is the exact same key used to access since he was 4: toys. Maybe the toys are a little more grown up – like awesome designer sunglasses that can FOLD UP (I have no idea why but all men love this but they do) or a waterproof digital camera that wirelessly connects to his computer/ iPad, but it’s got to be toys. Buy something he needs (like a new wallet) to satisfy yourself as well.

For your brosef:

2013 Gift Guy 3

Image sources: Webster belt, $69, from Politix; Cuisinart 2L icecream maker, $169, from Myer; Union Shirt, from Levis.

Too kewl accessories and clothes for your too kewl brother – he’s going to wear that denim shirt to death even if he doesn’t know it yet. Oh, and toys for him as well, but kitchen gadgets, because even if your brother isn’t a big cook, the chance to make his own Frankenstein Monster of an icecream featuring every sort chocolate known to man will be the greatest gift of all.

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Category: Featured
Tags: Dad, Special Occasion, Trends

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Gift guide: for the ladies in your life

13 December 2013, by Rachael Ciccarelli

2013 Gift Guide

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If you’re anything like me …and surely you must be, as you are fantastic enough to read this and I am glorious enough to write it, you’re blessed with many excellent women in your life that have either guided you (eat your greens or go to bed hungry, see if I care) or have been guided by you (yes of course you need those new shoes, now let’s get gin and tonics and put our feet up, all of this shopping has made me thirsty). And in return, you’d like to give them a special little something this Christmas to show them how radical you think they are – but holy poop, what do you get them? Don’t you worry about that, gentle reader: because you’ve got another awesome lady to guide you (spoiler alert: it’s me).

For the lady who fed you and clothed you:

2013 Gift Guide 1

Image sources: Desert stone necklace, $99.95, from Witchery; Sydney shopper, $259, from Fossil; Penhaligons EDT fragrance, $169, from Myer.

As far as mums (and grandmums) are concerned, you’re pretty safe with the gift giving. Your mum is going to unwrap whatever you get her and tell you she really loves it no matter how badly you have failed, because that is the sacred oath that all mums take after childbirth. Having said that, it would be nice to get her something she actually appreciates – like a beautiful piece of costume jewellery (you can never have enough, and most mums wouldn’t splash out on it unless they’re off to an event).

For the lady who is your plus one:

2013 Gift Guide 2

Image sources: Sass and Bide sunglasses, $229, from Sunglass Hut; Essential oil burner, $179.95, from Pigeonhole; Calvin Klein chemise, $109.95, from Myer.

Here’s a hot tip: when you’re buying for the lady you love, avoid practical gifts (unless you have been instructed otherwise). Of all the women I have met, 100% of them prefer gifts with a splash of romance. Perhaps even a dash of sentiment. It doesn’t have to always be fancy – it could even be a big pragmatic something and a small, lovey-dovey something else, but try and gear your buying toward wants and away from anything that juices, blends or chops. We’ll buy what we need in the boxing-day sales. So why not buy a beautiful lace camisole? It’s easier to fit than lingerie, and it’s not something she’d usually buy herself.

For the lady who used to beat you up when you were little and the ones that will selflessly help you finish that bottle of champagne:

2013 Gift Guide 3

Image sources: Peas in pod studs, $25, from Pigeonhole; Tala 1960’s flour sifter, $19.95, from Myer; Hearts duffle bag, $39.95, from Sportsgirl.

Sisters and galpals are a lot easier – a little token is all you need, and they’re generally on your level (and in your generation), so keep it fun and frivolous, or grab them that thing that they really need yet keep forgetting to buy themselves – like a new gym bag, or a hand triggered flour sifter. Sure, a sifter might not seem like the world’s most exciting gift but if they don’t have one, they might as well not have a kitchen – it is a game-changing implement and they’ll thank you forever for it.

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Category: Featured
Tags: Mum, Special Occasion

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Gift guide: Kris Kringle

06 December 2013, by Rachael Ciccarelli

2013 Kris Kringle

Image source: 1957 office christmas party.

Ah, ye olde office Christmas party time is upon us – and with it comes the choice to a) line our stomachs before hand, space our drinks, make chit chat and wake up hangover free; b) survive on finger food and champagne alone and give a stirring rendition of Living on a Prayer for the accounts department with bonus photographic evidence that will live to haunt you for 6-8 months; or c) drink to excess and tell your boss what you REALLY think. Hot tip: avoid c) at all costs by employing stomach lining methods outlined in section a). Along with avoidable life mistakes, the office party also affords us the opportunity to buy gifts for co-workers drawn from a hat on a tiny budget. These are often difficult circumstances especially when you know nothing about your KK aside from their name, and if you’re lucky, their gender. My solution is to go broad if you don’t know the person: pick a brightly coloured, totally unobjectionable, little fun thing and hope for the best.

2013 Kris Kringle 1

Image sources: Kitsound mini buddy speaker, $19.95, from Myer; Passport wallet, $19.95, from Portmans; Underwater disposable camera, $19.95, from Sportsgirl; Eggling – mint, $25, from Pigeonhole; Nando’s A Saucy Threesome gift pack, $15, from Woolworths; Hydrangea Duck Egg tote bag, $26.20, from Laura Ashley.

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Category: Featured
Tags: Special Occasion, Trends

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