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Why Australia Rules

Bread Clips!
In Britain, loaves of bread are sealed shut with these infuriating strips of sticky plastic that, unless you have ten-inch talons, take half a bloody hour to pick open and then rarely reseal with any degree of satisfaction.

shite!

But in Australia, you get a miniature masterpiece — the humble bread clip.

genius!

The simple twist-and-clip motion has dazzled bread lovers worldwide since American Floyd Paxton invented them sometime back in the olden days. And I was bedazzled all over again while back in Australia. So secure! So simple! So sensible! I smuggled a few back home, and plan to do a Daz/Napisan Doorstep Challenge-type of thing and bully my neighbours into abandoning their stickers and trying a bread clip for fourteen days.

Smug Bags!
Also called Alternative Bags or Go Green bags, Smug Bags are green woven shopping bags that put the standard environment-killing plastic numbers to shame. For just 99 cents you get a reusable bag that is wide enough for a loaf of bread and sturdy enough for a couple kilos of Australia’s very affordable fresh fruit and veg, and a delightful feeling of smugness for your token effort towards helping save the planet. “Look at me,” these bags scream to passers-by, “I may be a consumerist pig, but observe how I hold the loot in an enviro-friendly vessel!”.

I was first introduced to Smug Bags last year when bemoaning the lack of affordable tracky dacks (sweatpants US, trackybottoms UK) in this country. The cheapest I could find were £30 and shithouse. I refuse to pay the equivalent of $70 AUD for Couchwear.

So my ever thoughtful friends Monkey and Matt sent me two pairs of top quality 100% cotton Bonds trackies (one pair Traditional Grey, and one Black for more formal occassions. Bonds incidentally are also the makers of PURPLES!) She had nestled the precious garments into what she’d dubbed a Smug Bag. I thought the Bag was a bit weird at the time, but when I was in Melbourne last month I finally put it to use. I swanned smugly around the CBD with a green bag full of non-essential foodstuffs, lost in my apartment-dwelling, cafe-breakfasting, non-working, chocolate-scoffing vacation fantasy world. Back in the UK I tried to recapture the feeling with an ASDA Bag For Life, but when it’s made from plastic and holds your stinky gym clothes it’s just not the same.

Balls!
Along with the Smug Bag and superior trackies, my friends had also sent me a bag of Mint Slice Balls. They were all the goodness of a Mint Slice biscuit distilled into a Malteser-size ball, the perfect ratio of chocolate biscuit to zingy mint to dark chocolate coating. Imagine my delight to arrive in Australia to find the whole country had gone BALL CRAZY. Cadbury Dairy Milk Balls, Crunchie Balls, Cherry Ripe Balls, Clinker Balls, Ski Yogurt Balls, Fry’s Turkish Delight Balls. They weren’t all actually called balls – some were Bites or Chocettes or Minis, and the Cherry Ripes were decidedly cube-like; but to me it was just balls balls balls!

Unfortunately I didn’t get to sample the mother of all balls – The TimTam Ball! I still tremble at the thought of what sweet and faintly salty delights they would have been, but by the end of the trip my jeans were tighter than a Scotsman’s purse strings so I thought I’d best not partake.

chocolatey and delicious.

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


40 thoughts on “Why Australia Rules

  1. Alas, the Tim Tam balls are really Not That Great. I am confident that you would have been terribly disappointed. So I wonder, would it have been better for you to know the reality of the disappointment than to now crave something which really isn’t worthy of the craving?

  2. ha! We also have those plastic bread-bag-holder thingys, and we have the balls, too over here in Canada. I don’t think we have as many varieties though and I was definitely dismayed with the Reese balls which I thought should be crunchy but were just kind of oily and not so good.
    I love the term for “sweatpants”: “tracky backs”! Never heard that before in my life. I always wonder why they called them sweat pants or “jogging pants” because they seem so heavy and bulky and who would want to sweat in those? i’d rather go for shorts.

  3. Oh my god the breadclips! Im from england and i HATE the bread stickers- i’m currently in New Zealand and have been loving the geniusness of the damn bread clip. Why hasn’t it caught on??

  4. there is also tim tam ball icecream..totally ghastly.
    one of my children told their nana she HAD to buy them a tub because we ALWAYS eat it- and she did!
    looked like a highly textured tub of poo but they managed to eat most of it before psychomother returned home

  5. a few years ago there was a bread clip drought down here in Australia. I’m not sure why, but for a few months we too were using the sticky tabs. I imagine they recieved a whole lot of complaints, because the clips reappeared like nothing had happened.

  6. We did used to have breadclips, but I’ve not seen for about 20 years… back when it was just fields as far as the eye could see.

  7. Yeah I remember those bread clips… probably didn’t seal the bag as well as the sticky thingies.

    And I’ve skipped the rest of this post as I’m dieting.

    Pah.

  8. The Go Green bags are good, but the Green Bag ones are even better, because they zip up into a neat rectangle that fits in a coat pocket or bag.

    When I last visited Australia (in May), they were everywhere; for one, post offices had displays of them on the counter. I picked two up, and have been using them to do my shopping, sometimes getting compliments from the clerks. Alas, they haven’t caught on in the UK, even despite them allegedly having a UK office.

  9. yep, australia rules. the only rubbish defence i could come up with was i remember those bread clips *used* to be around in the 80s, but what good is that?

  10. “Too much chocolate and not enough biscuity goodness. ” What? Sounds OK to me.

    They have those bread clips in France, but only if you buy “pain gris”. You’re supposed to eat baguette so quickly it won’t go stale (I never managed this, and had to resort to hacking lumps off the dessicated remains for my breakfast, and covering them in marmalade in the hope that they’d soften down a bit.)

    I think Marks and Spencer may sell Smug Bags. My mother certainly has something answering your description from there, although it may not be exactly the same.

  11. Aye, we used to have the bread clips about 20 years ago. I’ve no idea why they were abandoned, because if you twisted the breadbag enough, you got a perfectly good seal. When I was in primary school there was even a (very, very sad and pathetic) craze of collecting the different coloured clips …

  12. My former job history comes to haunt me! The bread clips are called QuickLocks. The different colours represent the day the bread was baked, and therefore when it should be pulled from the shelves. I imagine UK and other countries have gone to sticky strips because of tampering issues (I have no idea, but it seems reasonable). I’m FULL of useless information like this! Ask me how many slices in a toast loaf, go on, I dare you!

  13. when i left australia ‘smug bags’ were all the rage. even retail stores were catching on and everyone at uni and the gym were using em to stash their heavy books or smelly gym gear…

    now im in america and there are no smug bags or bread clips – but there are plenty (oh yes, plenty) of tracky dacks and snacks of sugary, chocalatey goodness. makes the bumming around on the couch gorging yourself with junk food just as easy as it is back home!

  14. shauna, full marks if for no other thing but the line

    The Mother of all BALLS.

    Pol x

    (missing the “apartment-dwelling, cafe-breakfasting, non-working, chocolate-scoffing vacation fantasy world”)

    apart from the chocolate scoffing as I am a man and am not controlled by the brown devil.

  15. We do too have bread clips in America! I find both bread clips and sticky tapes to be useless- I prefer to either tie a knot in the bag or use one of them twisty wire thingies. But I do miss those Tim-Tams! I gorged on them during my year in Melbourne. None to be had here- boo hoo! At least we have the almighty Milanos.

  16. my first thought is that the bread clips are plastic, and therefore not so good for the environment – but! those bread sticker things also look like they’re plastic, so i don’t know.

  17. i read somewhere (can’t remember if source was reliable or not) that those green bags are not as environmentally friendly as we are led to believe.

    whilst they take the place of many plastic bags (a good thing) they are made from material that is not biodegradable (a bad thing).

    apparently using a cotton bag or similar is much more earth-friendly.

  18. You know what the best Ball of all is? The Butterfinger kind. Perfect. I messed up quite a few computer keyboards whilst playing Star Wars: Dark Forces 2 and scoffing those things.

  19. Oh Shauna! – You have made me feel so much better. I too have bemoaned the lack of trackies in the UK and wish fervently that I had stocked up from Best and Less before moving to Bath. I thought I was just being wierd – but no – there is some kind of ‘comfy trackies’ conspiracy in the UK!

    And you are so right about the bread ties too. I used to find them really useful as makeshift guitar plectrums when I lost mine (which I did all the time) – but now I must cut up milk cartons. ;D

    Great entry as always XXX

  20. a new obsessive fan of your blog. first check on the comment section just now…tentative steps into the world of the serious blog viewer/voyeur and blow me if you aren’t some sort of web superstar! and well deserved too!
    I am scottish living in milan who lived for a year in gunnadah and byron bay 8 years ago (gunnadah 3 days, byron bay 8 months…). I invite you to come to italy and fill your mind with the cultural obscurities of this place, I tell you it’s a whole new blog…and some of the chocolate here is not bad….strictly no smug bags though- caring about the environment isn’t high on the agenda here, though they do like to fill up stations with improbable recycling bins – holes smaller than your hand , though they are a very elegant design…

  21. What disturbs me more? Green (smugbags) on an aeroplane in place of “luggage” or those even worse red and blue striped bags from Crazy Clarks/Ron/Silly Solly’s?

    Finally – how can you not love Balls? Wait..you have unlimited access to Lees Macaroon Bars and Tunnocks Teacakes..not to mention the highly addictive Caramel Wafers!

  22. Having just left Oz, after being there for 6 months, I truely miss all the things you’ve just listed, but one you left out was the break in half squeezy tomato ketchup that you get in the chippy. Why oh why do we not have them in the UK? I’ll never forget my delight in these simple yet effective ketchup despensers.

    Ah yes it’s the little thing in life that make it worthwhile.

  23. I have just come across the bread strip this morning, my first UK breakfast. I’ll know tomorrow how well it all sealed.

    I did notice a Waitrose bag here, advertised as reusable, and with an option of free replacement. The term”smug bags” is so bloody good though!

  24. I’m returning to Melbourne soon after five years and have been wondering what changes there have been since I’ve been away. Those balls sound intriguing!

  25. I LOVE those bread ties. LOVE THEM LOVE THEM.

    The smug bags are good, but I’ve also been seeing these plastic bags, fancy looking, that can be recycled after a few times when you take them back to Woolies.

  26. There’s nineteen slices in a toast loaf. Or twenty-one, with crusts. Also, just to round things off: in the hotter regions of New Zealand, the raspberry finger buns had coconut on top of the raspberry icing when the rest of the country did not; because otherwise the hot weather caused the icing to slip straight off the bun. I am FULL of useless trivia like this. Sorry.

  27. hey shauna this blog is sexy. i love it love it love it. living in japan now and we have both the bread ties and the bags are sealed closed. and they should stay that way cos japanese bread is ass. we can buy tim-tams here everywhere it seems. i havent got the heart to tell my mum though, so i get a couple of packs every few weeks. precious.

  28. Much excitement this evening in Tesco, London, N4 where I spotted a packet of tim-tams. Didn’t actually buy them though. as did not know correct way of eating them – remembered something slightly rude involving hot tea but could be getting mixed up with something else.

  29. bag horrible! mwahaha.

    ahh heaps of top comments on here… cheers everyone!

    Trish – it’s $2.99 AUD, so a tiny wee bit cheaper than canada since the aussie dollar is even weaker than yours 🙂

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