Well, this week we had to put up with them cleaning up the mess in our hallway from the sprinklers going off as a result of the fire last week. It’s been kind of unpleasant, but is way better than having mouldy carpet and wallboard. We also found out this week that our three months in Sydney has been extended by two more months. So, at this point, we won’t be leaving Sydney now until after June 21. The unfortunate thing about that is that it is definitely turning into Fall here and we didn’t really pack for that kind of weather since we were going to be leaving in less than a week. I’m glad that I accidentally brought a pair of jeans now!
Finish Quantum – I used to normally buy the regular Finish tablets and they do a very nice job, but last year I decided to try the new Finish Quantum to see if they were as great as they act like with their “try it and if it doesn’t work better, you can have your money back” guarantee. So, clearly, the question is: does it work better than the regular tablets? Yes, yes, it does. I was really amazed at just how much better it really does work, especially on glassware and cooked on gunk on pans or cookie sheets. My glasses always come out super shiny and all of my Pyrex type dishes look like new again after I use the Quantum tablets. Everything in my dishwasher came out very shiny and clean with no water spots or anything. I didn’t realize how much my regular Finish tablets could be improved on until I tried these, honestly. So, before we left London I finally used up my supply of the regular Finish tablets, and when we get back I’ll be switching to the Quantum for sure. Here the Quantum tablets were perfect because they are a great size for our needs and they are in different packaging than they had in the UK; better packaging. My only complain is that I sort of wish that the box at Costco was bigger than 60 tablets, or I wish they would bundle two of them together at least. Also, I think they could use better packaging in the UK, more like what they have here in Australia. The Quantum tablets are not like the regular pressed powder tablets, but come in a little plastic coating that dissolves in the dishwasher, which means you clearly need to keep them dry. This is great because you don’t have to unwrap anything before you put it in the washer, you just pop it into the dishwasher whole. Unfortunately, the way they are packaged in the UK is annoying and hard to get the tablets out of without lots of fiddling. They have them in a plastic clam shell type of arrangement and it is not really sealed after you open it and it is much more cumbersome to get in and out of than it needs to be. They have 30 tablets in a little plastic clam shell like thing (obviously there are two of these in the box). Anyway, it’s a pain in the butt to deal with, I prefer the little plastic tubs that the laundry tablets come in. Here in Australia, they bundled together three packages of 20 tablets each and each package is like a thick plastic zip top bag. It is easy to get in and out of and you are confident of the seal. Plus, it doesn’t seem to be as much waste of material to me. The bags are definitely better, but I wish that they would bundle four or five of them together instead of just three. When I last bought the package of 60 in the UK it was £5.99, so it is way more pricey here, at almost 3 times as much. 3, 20 tablet packs for A$23.99 ($29.99 – $6.00 coupon) (UK: £16.22; US: $24.73). Item #: 20774.
Omo Small & Mighty Laundry Pods – Naturally, when we moved here I didn’t have any laundry products and had to get enough for our stay. Since we are unfamiliar with the brands and stuff here, I decided to go for something that seemed familiar and opted for the laundry pods. Funny enough I also noticed that “Omo” seems to be the UK brand “Persil” with a different name but the logo looks the same to me and it is even called “Small & Mighty”. In the UK, I preferred Persil non-bio tablets that I could pick up at Costco. Though, I had been using the Fairy liquitabs in the UK most recently because Costco always seemed to be out of the Persil non-bio when I went. So, the laundry pods are little liquid packets that you toss right in the washer with your clothes, instead of the compressed powder tablets that I used to get from Persil. I’ve heard from a few people that the liquid detergents are better at dissolving, especially in colder water (or during the winter when the incoming water is colder from the pipes), so I can see that might be an advantage of the liquid tabs or pouches. Of course, when I do really small loads I could split the Persil powdered tabs in half but definitely can’t do that with these liquid things. In the small washer-dryer combo that I have here in Australia (I was really hoping to get away from this when we were in Sydney), I would never be able to put enough clothing in to get over the load size where I require two pods, so a single box will do 20 loads. However, if you have a normal size washer they say you should use two pods per load; so that’s just 10 loads per box (or 30 big loads per Costco bundle). To me they seem a little pricey for the amount of loads you can do with each box; $0.50 per load, for a single laundry pod per wash. Having done several loads with these I can’t really tell any big difference in the quality of washing either but they are very convenient. However, since they don’t seem to make a huge difference on my laundry, certainly not twice as good as the powdered tablets, I would just as soon use those if I had the option. However, I think when we shopping for laundry items here, there didn’t seem to be an option for the regular powdered tablets, unfortunately. I have noticed in some Costco literature that they make Kirkland Signature laundry pods too, so I hope that they get those here and in the UK sometime in the near future. I will say that I do like the convenience and less mess of using the tablets or pods to regular liquid detergent. Plus, in the UK or Australia, I don’t really have the space for a giant container of liquid detergent and the pods and tablets are much more compact. 3, 20 pod containers for A$29.99 (UK: £20.26; US: $30.90). Item #: 23616.
Champion Elite Men’s Ankle Socks – I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this before but we have a really hard time buying Dave socks and shoes because his feet are rather large. He wears a 13.5 US and that means he falls out of the regular or typical men’s sock parameters of fitting sizes 6 – 12. I would just like to say to sock manufacturers everywhere, this is a very large range of sizes and I’m quite certain that one end of that spectrum of feet is not properly covered by the socks and perhaps you should adjust your size range We are usually able to find a few pairs of dress socks in his size, but the athletic type socks must be specially ordered and even then they are harder to find than you would think. I see lots of tall kids now days, where are they buying all of their socks?. But I digress. For us this means that Dave’s apparently freakishly large feet are often crammed into socks that don’t really fit him very well. And of course that means that they wear out faster than if he had “normal” feet. So, we buy a lot of white athletic socks for him. But thankfully, Costco has the 6 pair bundles for reasonable prices so it isn’t as expensive to keep him in socks. The Champion ankle socks are nice because they are cushiony on the foot bed and have the wicking fabric that manages to keep your feet dry while exercising or being sporty. I’d tell you more about these, but strangely, the packaging is in French or Spanish but not English. And my language skills with neither French nor Spanish extends to fabric talk. They are 64% cotton with some other stuff like polyester, spandex and latex to give it the stretch that you need in a sock. However, that high cotton content means that you don’t want to dry them on a high heat or you’ll end up with little baby socks, and thus we would be right back to the issue of Dave’s huge feet. I accidentally dried a pair of them on a higher heat and they ended up looking like they were too small to even fit my feet, let alone Dave’s. Luckily you can kind of stretch them back to foot size again, but they’re not quite as big as they would have been if I hadn’t done that. Of course, if you have “normal” feet, then you are good to go and can freely enjoy your socks from Costco knowing that you bought them for about half of what you would have paid at some other retailer. 6 pairs for A$13.49 (UK: £9.12 ; US: $13.90). Item #: 153940.
Pandaroo Wasabi Peas – I love wasabi peas! It’s the wasabi really, not the pea so much. For me, the pea is just a delivery vehicle for a hit of wasabi. Normally, we just buy a can of these at the Asian grocery and are satisfied with the single, normal sized can. But no longer! Costco has ruined us for that style of wasabi pea buying. At Costco, we were able to buy six cans all at once. This is great because Dave likes the wasabi peas too. With our stockpile of six cans, that means that we can have a can at home and then Dave can take one into work for afternoon snacking. These are pretty much like every other decent wasabi pea brand that I have tried. The good thing is that they don’t skimp on the wasabi coating. Of course, that does mean that occasionally you run into an over coated pea that makes your eyes water, your nose run, and your tongue feel like you licked a lit match. But I like it! It’s a bit like eating a chili pepper, sure it might hurt a bit right now but something about it is so good too. If you don’t like things that make your eyes water, you might not understand this concept, which is undoubtedly very odd. In any case, we thoroughly enjoyed the wasabi peas. The only problem is that the little cans could be twice as big, in my opinion. They are perfect for snacking though and I should probably just try to control my urge to eat so many of them at once. But they are somewhat addictive, once you eat a couple you really want a few more, and so on and so on. It’s a vicious circle. However, if you are not going to inhale these like I did, you don’t need to worry because each of the cans is sealed up and will last for a couple of years. We, however, will definitely need to pick up more of these on our next trip to Costco. 6, 140 gram cans for A$8.79 (UK: £5.94; US: $9.06). Item #: 10287.