January: What Are The Top Three Things You’d Recommend To A Friend This Month?

My aunty once told me about her old boss and the unusual gift registry she had on her 50th birthday. She asked each of her friends to give her what they were currently into for a birthday present. For example a book they’d recently read, a TV series they were addicted to, a CD of their favourite songs, a voucher to a great new restaurant they’d discovered. It was such a great way to get to know her friends again and to discover new things she wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

It inspired me to start a new segment of reader recommendations. I often run surveys to get more information on the Smagglets, like how old you are or if you have kids or not, but this time I want to know what your obsessions are. So each month, I’m going to ask you for your top 3 recommendations from that month. It can be anything; a vegetable that’s been a staple in your weeknight dinners, a new workout that you’re loving or a fabulous app that’s changed your life. I’d love to hear about it!

Here are my top 3 awesome things from January. 


I’m not a massive fan of white wine but I’m a massive fan of wine in general so I’ll pretty much drink anything. However given the choice, I’d never buy myself a glass of white wine. This presents an issue in summer when I feel like a glass of wine but the thought of drinking warm shiraz makes me want to hurl. This is where rosé comes in. It’s the perfect compromise for a seasoned shiraz lover on a hot day. Also my bestie is a sav blanc gal but she quite likes a sip of the old rosé so it’s the perfect choice for those afternoons where you just want to share a bottle of wine in the summer sun but you can’t decide what to have. 

Boardwalk Empire 

Again I’m pretty late to embrace this one seeing as they’ve already filmed 3 seasons of it, but it’s spectacular. If you don’t know much about this show it’s set in Atlantic City during the prohibition era where alcohol was banned in the United States. It’s basically about gangster life circa 1926 with all manner of alcohol smuggling, embezzling, adultery and murder. Steve Buschemi is extraordinary (Interesting fact: His name is pronounce ‘Boo-scheme-mee’ not ‘Boo-sheem-mee’) and the whole thing is just beautiful to look at. There’s also a character called Richard Harrow that I will confidently state is the best character to have ever been on television. Ever.

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He’s played by Jack Huston who’s Angelica Huston’s nephew. His performance is extremely special. If you can rustle up a watching buddy for this, do it. It helps to have a hand to grip in the scary parts. It also helps to watch with someone who speaks gangster. I’ve been watching with Mr Smaggle, who listens to a lot of rap and hip hop and he’s been so useful when the characters start using slang words that I just don’t understand. 

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 QV Eye Cream 

I’ve been using this stuff for a few months now and it’s made a massive difference to the skin around my eyes. I dab it around my under eye area and around the sides where crows feet like to live and when I wake up in the morning I look fresh as a daisy. I also sleep with an eye mask on because I live in an urban area and it never quite gets dark enough for me. I think the combination of a generous application of QV eye cream and a delicious cotton eyemask makes a soothing mini steam sauna for my eyes. It’s super effective and super cheap.

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Melbourne Bonus

Barre Body 

I’ve been doing Barre Body classes at the Fitzroy studio for about 2 months now and I LOVE IT! It’s walking distance from my house, I don’t have to wear shoes and I get a really decent workout that doesn’t make me stabby. It’s the perfect workout for people who love dance classes, yoga and pilates but find that those classes on their own don’t offer enough of a workout. It’s also great for ex-dancers like myself who spent much of their childhood in ballet classes and want to dabble again without necessarily pulling out their pointe shoes.

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 Tell me… what are your top 3 recommendations from January? A product? A restaurant? A television show? What made January rock for you?

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.


  1. Ellie Scarf 2 years ago

    OK – I discovered:
    1) Quorn – garlic & herb fillets. I am not even a vegetarian but HELLO vegetable protein!!
    2) Summit X3 running stroller – goodbye using 5 month old as excuse not to ramp the running back up. Bought from Amazon for a fraction of the price of a lower model here in Australia.
    3) Project 333 – committing to wearing 33 items of clothing (not including undies, workout or ‘lounge’ wear, or breastfeeding singlets for me) for 3 months to get a handle on the wardrobe explosion that has happened over the past few years of weight loss, gain, pregnancy and baby-dom. I am loving it!

  2. Same here with the rose wine. I always thought it was too sweet until I found the Provence style dry rose. It’s my summer fave.Also loving CND vinylux for lazy manicures. Goes on and off like a normal polish but cures in the sunlight to last twice as long as normal polish. Genius.

  3. Victoria Devine 2 years ago

    This is my favourite of all your posts, love a good recommendation especially where tv shows are concerned!
    1. Dilmah green tea with Jasmine Petals. It’s amazing, refreshing and I’m sure has some sort if magical hangover cure when teamed with buttery toast
    2. Chicago fire & Chicago pd ~ think greys anatomy and private practice but with firemen and cops.
    3. Pearl Jams most recent album Lightning Bolt, especially Sirens, that song gets into my heart ~ saw them live last night and am still smiling!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Secret? It’s MY favourite too because then I get an awesome list of cool stuff to try! I love your list! Chicago fire and pd sounds like a world of awesome. Where do you watch it? Foxtel? Netflix?

  4. Nellie 2 years ago

    Great Post! Would love to hear more from Ellie regarding project 333- sounds like a winner. For me:
    1. Lavender essential oil. To burn, to bathe in. Unreal stuff.
    2. Low fat feta cheese, smooth Danish style by the trusty Lemnos crew. In omelettes, salads…everything.
    3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. She of the Secret History book. Fantastic and chunky read.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I ADORE lavender oil… we bought a humidifier on the weekend and it’s delicious with a few drops of oil in it. I’m interested in Goldfinch… I need more book recs.

  5. Grant Heino 2 years ago

    I am so jumping on this QV eye cream band-wagon! My eyes are in dire need of a pick-me-up and the Clinque cream i had been using made my eye tired, which cannot be a good thing!

    My top three for January:

    Tetley Bright and Peachy (with a hint of orange) Tea: This is actually delicious. Flavoured ‘teas’ usually taste like shit because they contain no actual tea, but this has a really robust flavour and it’s delicious.

    Clarins Beauty Flash Balm: You can apply this under makeup apparently? I use it as a face mask after my weekly shave to stave off shaving rash (having the facial hair of a 16 year-old, I only shave once a week, and as such my skin has never adjusted to razor-burn!). It is absolutely miraculous.

    MTV Teen Wolf season 3B: I am a supernatural TV fiend, and this show is awesome. It ticks off all the important things like Monsters, Hot guys, Occasionally witty; but at the end of the day it is actually genuinely enjoyable, even if the only other people watching it are teenaged girls.

  6. maddi 2 years ago

    i think mine would have to be:
    Scandal (TV)-OBSESSED. i also got really into revenge and game of thrones this month.
    t2 china jasmine tea
    and finally, i am obsessed with coconut oil. for everything.

  7. Alisa Muir 2 years ago

    I love these posts. I always read the comments section and get some fabulous ideas.

    I got a sample of this Karen Farley night cream and have been using it and have fallen in love. I now need to sneak a full size of it into the budget. Its really nice.

    Goodreads. Ive used this site for years now but I LOVE IT. Such a great way to geek out on books and not be the annoying Facebook person who geeks out on books all the time.

    Carmex lip conditioning balm stuff.. Ive used it since high school. LOVE it.

    And i list these things purely because I just put carmex on my lips, the sample of night cream is beside me so reminded me and I was just on goodreads.. lol. Nothing new or mind blowing has arrived in my life this last month.

  8. Raquel Moss 2 years ago

    Oooh I have some cool things to share this month!

    1. Les Revenants (French TV series). This series (not to be confused with the 2004 film) is amazing. A small French town is rocked when people who have died over past forty years start to return. No zombie-ness or anything, they’re just….back. Amazing acting, fantastic story, and it’s French so you get to feel all sophisticated while reading subtitles.

    2. Blogilates. I’ve been doing Cassey Ho’s Blogilates videos for the past two months. It’s a great way to get started with pilates at home. Why I love it: I don’t need special equipment or clothes, I just jump in front of the TV every day and get it done. No gym membership, no class timetables. Awesome! Try the beginner’s calendar if you’re not sure where to start.

    3. Safari browser. This sounds really dumb, but I’ve been a Chrome devotee for years. As a web developer, I’ve now switched from using Chrome all the time, to just using Chrome for dev stuff, and using Safari for personal browsing. Fun features include ‘Reader’ which acts like Pocket/Readability etc. by taking out all the distracting crap from a website and leaving you with just the words.

    • Nicole 2 years ago

      I could be wrong, but I believe the US has just put out a remake of Les Revenants called Resurrection. Definitely sounds like the same premise from your description. I’m sure the French one is probably better.

  9. Tara 2 years ago

    1. Hendricks Gin – makes a totally mind-blowing G&T. Don’t forget the cucumber garnish.
    2. Kale – I am officially the last person in the world to discover kale but I don’t care, it’s delicious. I’ve been having it with some sautéed onion and (homegrown) tomatoes, some cannellini beans and goats cheese or Parmesan on top. Awesome lunch.
    3. Sons of Anarchy – saved me from my post-Breaking Bad broken heart.

  10. Nicole 2 years ago

    Wait, did people actually think his name was pronounced Boo-sheem-me?

    1. The Gadget Man. It’s a show about futuristic-like gadgets that actually exist right now, and it’s hosted by Richard Ayoade. Enough said, really.

    2. Jerky. Preferably teriyaki flavour. It’s a really easy way to have a salty, protein filled snack. Though, I’ve had to jump around brands because some don’t get the whole low carb/high protein snack thing.

    3. My mini-trampoline. I can jog, in place, without killing my old lady knees, and not need to leave the house.

    I was never a big wine fan. But if I felt like something, I usually went for white zinfandel. I think I might be allergic to classiness : P

  11. Peta 2 years ago

    I am loving
    1. The fitbit I got for Xmas

    2. My gratitude journal. Really makes you see your day differently.

    #.Rose hip oil on my face at night. I swear I look younger!

  12. Sammy 2 years ago

    Veronica Mars
    Cadbury Jelly Popping Candy Beanies Chocolate
    Wolf of Wall Street or Saving Mr Banks (basically going to the movies with my BFF)

  13. Kayla 2 years ago

    1. Kung fu girl wine if you want a lovely white!
    2. Immune Dx by plantiva totally saved my January cause I almost got sick traveling! Totally saved me!
    3. Not sure how you feel about different teas, but I fell in love with dragon well green tea! 🙂
    Happy february! 🙂

  14. kforkarli 2 years ago

    1. The latest Donna Hay mag – simply for the 2 recipes I’ve made. A killer coleslawy thing with ginger dressing and pork, tarragon and garlic patties. OMG so tasty I made 2 lots this weekend and have managed to stretch the eating of it until today.
    2. The Fault in Our Stars. The best Young Adult book I’ve ever read.
    3. Turia Pitt’s’ 60 Minutes episode. I know, I’m late to the viewing of this but she’s totally interesting and incredibly remarkable.

    • Alisa Muir 2 years ago

      That book is AMAZING.

    • I bought the Turia Pitt autobiography on my iPad and devoured it in one sitting. So heartbreaking but also incredible, her strength and that of her family is remarkable. Definitely recommend it.

  15. daddownunder 2 years ago

    Yes to the rose, yes to boardwalk empire, I’ll even dabble with the eye cream but I suspect I’d be an awful Barre man. (1) January is the month I officially went from regular viewer to QI addict (2) I always have the desert island discs podcasts playing away in the background (3) I stole a bit of anna’s Moroccan argan oil hair thingy and it’s left my barnet all shiny and healthy looking, I’ll steal again.

  16. eternalvoyageur 2 years ago

    Weinschorle: a mix of wine with sparkling water. Usually white wine. It tastes sparkly, and doesn´t contain much alcohol.
    Callanetics. Really effective in toning the hips and butt, I can vouch for that personally.
    Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, one of my absolute favourite films.

  17. Nicole 2 years ago

    Oooh, I love a good rosè. My top 3 for Jan are..
    1 – Prenatal yoga: Just a bunch of pregnant chicks talking and having a giggle at boobs and farts. Then we do yoga and make jokes about kegels. Awesome.
    2 – Mandarins: There’s a type of mandarin here called ‘cuties’ that are like little orange balls as addictive as crack. Tangy, sweet, juicy and citrusy, I cannot get enough.
    3 – ‘Scandal’: I just started watching this and OH. MY. GOD. I love it!

    • Nicole 2 years ago

      I love the cuties mandarins too! But don’t care for the ads where they imply they’re only for children because they’re small. I’m an adult and I’ll have a tiny, sweet, delicious citrus if I want to media! : P Do you get those ads too?

      • Nicole 2 years ago

        I know right. I see those ads and just want to yell at the tv! Those delicious fruits are for me too!! I’m also really into Goldfish crackers too. Here should be an alternative ad for adults at night. “You know what would go great with that glass of Sav Blanc? Some little cheese crackers. And maybe a nice piece of citrus on the side…”

        • Nicole 2 years ago

          Haha exactly! I saw an ad for Lucky Charms the other night targeted towards adults, if they can do one for cereal with marshmallows, surely they can make ones for cheese crackers and tiny oranges.

  18. Shannon 2 years ago

    Bit late seeing as its Feb, but I just have to share the book I finished in Jan for all the mammas out there and 2 other things I’m currently obsessed with.

    1. The Book – ‘Say It Again In A Nice Voice’ by Meg Mason. Meg describes motherhood and in particular working parenthood in the most accurate, hilarious way. It totally resonated with me. http://www.booktopia.com.au/say-it-again-in-a-nice-voice-meg-mason/prod9780732293529.html

    2. The Bachelorette – on channel Go. Just cant not watch it!

    3. T2 Lemon Myrtle leaf tea. Almost had a heart attack at the counter when the sales assistant said that would be $35. Too late to turn back at that stage, but I’m glad I didn’t. Its delicious and so soothing. And you can re-brew it up to 4 times so the $35 price tag not so bad after all 🙂

  19. Nessbow 2 years ago

    The Office: I’m very late to the party with this one, but it’s just amazing. Perfect for perking up a dull day.

    Coconut water: it’s my new post-yoga drink.

    Away we go: I watched this film a few days ago after a friend told me it was her all-time favourite movie. I’d never heard of it before and now I’m totally smitten. It’s cute and heart-warming with plenty of giggles.

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