Review: Z and Co. Subscription Box

This weeks review post is a little different as it doesn’t contain any food (although I would like to eat one of the soaps.. it smells so good!) but instead a subscription box. I really enjoy the idea of subscription boxes because of the surprise each month and sometimes there are things you would never pick for yourself but realise you actually really like. I’ve tried a few boxes in the past but found I never used any of the products and the overseas ones always had crazy postage charges attached which, in most cases, negated the added value of the boxes.

First look into the Mini Mystery Pamper Pack box
First look into the Mini Mystery Pamper Pack box

I first heard about Z and Co. a few months ago but couldn’t decide what products I wanted to try but subscribed to their email list just in case something took my eye which, this month, it did. They just released subscription boxes! Z and Co. is an Australian (from Canberra, even better!) brand that sells skin care products such as scrubs, soaps and body butters which are all things I enjoy using so I couldn’t wait to see what I would receive.

Something I like about the boxes is they aren’t all shipped out on the same date like many others but you have a monthly subscription from the day you first sign up which meant instead of waiting weeks for my box it arrived within a few days.

What's inside!
What’s inside!

The box was packed nicely with some black tissue paper for padding and there was also a personalised, handwritten letter from owner Neda, she informed me I was the lucky 1st subscriber to the box and because of that she’d thrown in a few extras for me! It was lovely to get something handwritten and personalised and the service was great all round (I also emailed Neda a few time before I bought the box and she was prompt to reply and very nice).

Items from the Mini Mystery Pamper Pack
Items from the Mini Mystery Pamper Pack

I bought the Mini Mystery Pamper Pack which is $29.95/month including shipping, the subscription boxes are open to Australia only, which is the cheapest one available. They have a variety of packs depending on your budget and also ones that cater to pregnant women/new Mums and men.

In my mini box I received:

  • Feel the Love Body Soak – this is a lovely body and foot soak that includes vodka! – I probably wouldn’t try drinking it though. I had the pleasure of using this last night and it left my skin feeling lovely and soft. The scent isn’t overpowering and could be used by both men and women.
  • Honey, I’m Home! Body Butter – After letting this melt a little between my fingers it then went onto my skin really easily and my skin felt nice and soft and soothed. The scent is an unusual one that I’m not overly keen on but given one of the ingredients is Shea Butter I’m not too surprised, it isn’t a scent I particularly like. If you do though you might like this.
  • Bush Pig Soap – this is quite an unusual name for a soap! I looked up on the website for answers and it appears to be ‘why not?’. I haven’t had a chance to use this yet but I love how it looks, especially the little leaves on top.
  • Blueberry Mini Cupcake Soap – I haven’t had a chance yet yo try this one. I’m interested in what it must smell like though! I can imagine this being a cute little guest bathroom soap.
  • Candy Watermelon Soap Cube – This soap looks and smells amazing! It reminds me of Starburst chews and I really just want to eat it. I have to remind myself it will not taste how it smells! I haven’t had a chance to use this yet either but I am trying to think of where I can use it so I can open it as soon as possible.
  • Gentle Lavender Soap – I’m not sure if this one is available still as it isn’t on the website. I haven’t used it yet but it has a subtle hint of lavender and is a goat’s milk soap so I’m assuming it’s nice and soft and milky to use. I love goats milk soap so I’ll definitely be giving it a try.

I really wish I had a use for all these soaps so I could find out how they smell and feel. One day I will get a chance to use them all! I also love that everything appears to be full size, no samples here! There was also a $5 off coupon in my body soak! Fortunately I noticed it before pouring it into the bath!

Overall I have enjoyed this pack and can’t wait to see what I get for future packs. If you’re in Australia and looking for a new subscription box to try I’d definitely recommend it, especially as the prices start at $29.95AUD including shipping and you can cancel any time.

Note: This is not a sponsored post, I paid for everything myself and just enjoy sharing quality products from small local businesses.


A Night at the Museum

On Friday night I went to my second Click + Connect event, held by Her Canberra. This time it was the Night at the Museum event held by the National Museum of Australia that was all about celebrating 50 years of Play School. The great thing about this event was that beforehand we got to mingle and meet new people around a table filled with lollies, champagne, fairy bread and party pies!

mmm lollies!
mmm lollies!

On arrival we were given glasses of champagne topped with fairy floss and completed with a straw! I’m not quite sure of the purpose of the straw but it was quite good for poking the fairy floss down into the champagne. It also a little volcano like with bubbles pouring up out of it after taking a sip.

I think I enjoyed this event better than the last one I went to as it felt a bit more casual. There was no sit down component and you weren’t stuck at the same table, you could wander around and meet everyone if you wanted. Plus there was a huge platter of fairy bread! I have to admit I had a few pieces of that. I don’t know who invented fairy bread but you can’t go past crunchy 100’s & 1000’s on some fresh buttered bread!

Champagne, extra full lolly bag and museum program
Champagne, extra full lolly bag and museum program

After a few glasses of champagne, some time to chat with the others and also to fill up our lolly bags we were given programs for the night and were whisked to the front of the line for entry to the museum. No queuing or tickets required! All very VIP.

Unfortunately as soon as we made it to the museum entrance everyone seemed to get separated and we didn’t enjoy the event as a group. It might have been that the 1 person who I wandered around with (I can’t even remember her name even though we had nametags on!) and I decided we needed to get on the jumping castle! It was a lot of fun but also quite tiring. My heart was racing after only 5 mins of bouncing fun!

People having fun hula hooping
People having fun hula hooping

There were little activities throughout the museum and we were free to wander around where ever we liked. I didn’t give hula hooping a go, I don’t think it would have been too successful.

Lower Landmarks - National Museum of Australia
Lower Landmarks – National Museum of Australia

It seemed like many people didn’t realise you could go further than the main hall as we basically had free rein over the other areas. It was nice to get to see the museum without having to move around other people and especially with no kids.

During one of the activities (that was held in a room that had twinkling stars on the ceiling) we met another girl, Vee, who had been separated from her friend group and asked if she wanted to walk around with us. She was really nice and I’m glad I made the offer, even if I only knew her for about 30 minutes.

The 3 of us then went and tried out kspaces which is an interactive exhibit where you become a time travelling robot that has to help in an event from the past.

They take your photo and for some reason my head/face ended up in a shark’s mouth. Maybe that is just how time travelling robots from the future are! I had a great time, even though it is targeted at kids. Part of the adventure involves a team of 4 having to control 1 mech which was difficult enough as adults, let alone as kids. Our team came 2nd (there were 3 teams of 4) and only lost by 5 points!

Quote on the wall
Quote on the wall

After kspaces my companions for the night had to leave which left me to walk around the museum solo. I didn’t actually get a chance to see the Play School exhibit (I’m not sure where it was as I did walk around quite a bit) and didn’t stay for the talks of the night as my feet really felt like they wanted to fall off.

I didn’t stay anywhere near as long as I expected to, I really wish I had another pair of shoes (and didn’t have to carry my coat around) and that the group had stayed together, at least a little, for the actual museum component of the night. It was fun though and I’m looking forward to finding out what the next Click + Connect event is.


My Favourite Things – May 2016

Favourite Things - May 2016
Click to join the linkup

It’s time for the May edition of “My Favourite Things”. A linkup hosted by Raisa and Eirene where you post about something you enjoyed in the previous month.

If you read my last Favourite Things post you will know I’ve recently gotten into doing cross stitch (updates on Instagram). I felt like I needed something to listen to while cross stitching and the answer was Welcome to Night Vale which I’ve been subscribed to in YouTube for years and, on occasion, have listened to the first 10 or so episodes but never gotten any further than that.

Welcome to Night Vale
Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale is a fortnightly podcast that is in the style of community updates for the town of Night Vale. It’s format is that of a community radio station show run by Cecil who gives updates on the news, local events and areas (the dog park which is not for dogs. Or anyone. Don’t go to the dog park, no one is allowed in the dog park) as well as the weather which is actually a song.

You get to meet characters, such as the beautiful haired scientist Carlos, the glow cloud (all hail..) and old lady Josie who speaks to angels, and Khoshekh the station cat, as they go about life in Night Vale. It’s really weird and strange and any other word that can describe odd but also amazing at the same time. Cecil Palmer is the voice of Night Vale (voice actor Cecil Baldwin whose voice fits the show so well!) and you get to see the town through his eyes (or voice as it may be). And just be glad you don’t have to intern for the station.

Since starting to listen to it at the same time as cross stitching I’ve been able to get through 50+ episodes (there are more than 80) and am still really enjoying it. It is definitely more enjoyable than my local radio station, that is for sure!

If you like things that are a little bit different and are ok with the idea that mountains don’t exist and wheat & wheat by-products are banned then I really recommend you give it a try, even just the pilot (linked above) and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Goodnight Night Vale, goodnight.


Review: Shorty’s, City

Last week Jarrod and I went out for drinks (happy hour at Marble & Grain. $5 spirits!) and then off to dinner at Shorty’s. I’d classify Shorty’s as a Gastropub based on their offerings and pricing. On the night we went they had a $15 steak and drink (called Steak and Shake for some reason, even though there are no shakes involved) deal that also includes chips and salad.

Choc Flake ($7.50) & Golden Gaytime ($8.50) shakes
Choc Flake ($7.50) & Golden Gaytime ($8.50) shakes

We noticed they did have shakes on the menu though so decided to order a couple, even though we also had drinks included in the steak deal. These were good milkshakes but they were far too expensive. There was nothing overly special about them (that I could determine) and their combined cost of $16 (more than 1 of our meals!) made them even less so. Given the state of shakes at the moment, for $8.50 you would expect it to at least be a thick shake and maybe have something a little fancy on the top. Ideally, these should have been around the $6 mark. Fortunately, they were well flavoured and were good for what they were just a bit pricey.

Medium Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($15)
Medium Steak with Mushroom Sauce ($15)

Generally speaking, I will never order a steak from anywhere if there is something else I like on the menu. This was, in fact, the first time I have ordered a steak in my life as I’m not too keen on the texture. Over the last few years I have been exposed to some really lovely steaks though and, given I was recently diagnosed with an iron deficiency, I decided to get over my issues with steak and ordered one.

We both ordered our steaks medium (about as pink as I can take a steak being) and they came out fairly quickly. The mushroom sauce was quite good and I was surprised to see actual mushrooms in the mix. The steak was about what I expected for a $15 steak. It didn’t change my mind on steak and I wondered if getting such a cheap meal for my first ever steak order might have been a mistake however, I was a bit scared to buy something more expensive and also find it average. It was cooked to what I’d consider to be medium and was relatively soft but no where near as good as the ones I’ve had previously, given the price difference though this isn’t overly surprising.

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to go for dinner so you can easily be heard by your table mates, Shorty’s is probably not the place for you. The music was very loud and, although I had booked a table, we were at a high table that appeared to just be shoved in a corner to get the most out of the room they had. It was such a tight fit that I had to jump down from my chair and move it so the people at the table behind us could get out.

I could see this being a fun place to go for drinks (apparently the beer choices are good!) but, even though I’m keen to try their burgers and schnitzel nights, I’m not sure it’s somewhere I’ll be back to any time soon.

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Shorty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Dreaded Pap Smear

Earlier in the year I realised it had been nearly 2 years since my last Pap Smear (which is apparently an out-dated term, Pap Test is the preferred now. What do you call it?) and I would need to book in to get it done shortly. Of course I put it off. I’ve never known a woman who has said “Oh I am due to get my pap smear done, better go do that right this second!” it’s usually “Oh, I need to get around to doing that” but the experience is so awkward we just keep pushing that date back.

One of the main reasons I’ve been postponing mine is that I don’t have a regular doctor that I visit and it seemed really strange to have my first meeting with a doctor be one where they inspect my cervix. I thought I might wait and see if I had to visit the doctor for any other reason first but that never happened so I sucked up my courage and made an appointment. A local medical centre has a female doctor who specialises in female and sexual health so I thought, although awkward (for me), she would probably be a good choice to see. I made an appointment online and tried to prepare myself for the whole thing.

I'm so glad these aren't metal anymore!
I’m so glad these aren’t metal anymore!

I arrived to my appointment, got to the front desk and was told that the doctor I had chosen doesn’t actually take new patients and I should never have been able to book her. Regardless of the fact that I had been able to book the appointment they weren’t going to let me see her. Although the receptionist did whisper “Is it for a Mirena implant?” and I wonder what the outcome would have been if I had said that it was for an IUD.

After being told I couldn’t see the doctor I had researched I was also told that there were no appointments with any of their female doctors for that day. My options were to see a male doctor or see no one. Given I’d finally made the appointment I figured I’d go with the male doctor, how bad could it be? It couldn’t be any worse than normal, right?

I took a seat and waited for the doctor to call me in. I tried to stay calm and relax as much as I could.

The doctor called me in and asked me what I assume are standard questions but kept pressing on when my last test was. I don’t know if he didn’t believe that it was 2 years ago or maybe didn’t think I needed it yet but he asked me multiple times and at that point I was still fully dressed.

Then it was time to remove all clothing from the waist down (I kept my socks on!), spread my legs and let a strange man inspect me. It was about as pleasant as you would expect what is basically a plastic set of tongs clamped open inside you can be and then he made it even less so by proclaiming that there was a lot of blood and how that wasn’t very good. He then asked me again how long it had been since my last test. TWO YEARS!

At this point I’m getting even more uptight and the relaxing of my muscles just isn’t working. I assume he can see how nervous I am but then, the phone rings. Given we were in the middle of a procedure and the speculum was ‘in place’ I never thought in a million years he would actually go and answer that phone but… he did. He went and answered the phone while I just lay there, legs wide, in shock.

Unfortunately, the appointment didn’t get much better and it ended with him shoving a bunch of tissues at me telling me that there was some ‘stuff going on there’ and pointed in the general direction of my crotch. Because this appointment hadn’t been humiliating enough.

Once I had gotten dressed he essentially dismissed me from the office without giving me any understanding about what the issues with the test may mean.

I walked out of the medical centre and raced over to the nearest toilets where I shut myself in a stall and cried and tried to process what had just happened. While I gave permission for him to complete the test I have never felt this way in one before and didn’t expect to feel violated when it was over.

Fortunately, they were able to process the sample he did get and the results came back normal. I don’t know if I would have been able to work myself up to getting it done again so soon if they hadn’t been. It makes me wonder if this is a common experience for women during pap tests and is one reason why women fail to get them done regularly even though they are important in detecting abnormal cells and cervical cancer.

Next time I think I’ll investigate a gynaecologist so I can then be confident that it is a common procedure they do all the time.


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