Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And So it Begins Again

I am back on the treadmill that is 'real' life. Work and school indicate the return to the grind, hectic pace and all, and holidays already feel soo long ago.

One thing I had promised myself was that I would 'pretty' up my hands and get my nails done (fakies) after so much work landscaping, and I did fulfil this plan on one of my last days off.
 I also managed one of my other favourite things, which I hadn't managed to fit in during my 5 weeks off...a visit to my Lindt cafe. Skim flat white with a hazelnut macaroon.
I will have to avoid my cafe - except for the odd treat - as I have set myself a new goal, and macaroons won't help me achieve it! I have decided to commit myself whole-heartedly to training for...a half marathon. Perhaps no big deal for some, but a very big deal for me. I am not a very good runner so this is a huge challenge. I plan to participate in the gold coast half marathon on the 1st July this year. As always I throw myself into these things, and am reading the latest 'Running' mags like they're going out of fashion!

On the home front, I purchased my big wicker hamper for the kids school bags and other school things. Looks great and is very handy!!

Kids were all smiles here coming home from their first day back at school yesterday - what else can you hope for but happy kids!!

I am about to start researching bedheads again too. Very keen to get one in the not too distant future. Heatherly Designs is one place I have looked at before - they have gorgeous bedheads! A little expensive though...


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oztralia Day!

Hope everyone had the chance to enjoy Australia Day today! We had a gathering of special friends and were blessed with much better weather than anticipated. Kids had a ball - especially in the pool. Adults ate, drank and were very merry. Our friends have voted that we have the job of hosting Oz day every year...must be a compliment!

Back to reality and work for me tomorrow. 5 weeks off is a luxury, I have loved this time with my 2 beautiful kids and should be thankful for the chance to bond like this with them.

Will be in touch again soon. Hope you all had a lovely day!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I survived...the new IKEA.

Sydney had a new Ikea open up late last year. I have been on holidays for nearly 5 weeks, and it took me until yesterday to make my first visit there. I was joined by my little buddy (Maya) so I didn't do the long slow wander I a would have liked, but she was content with her little yellow Ikea trolley and I don't think she ran over too many toes. Although I only went to grab a couple of things, I (as predicted) came away with a few other bits n pieces, but nothing big. I really needed to tidy up my study - it's been my ' dump things without a home' room and Maya has made a huge mess had a great time playing in there too. A few extra baskets, some book holders, a small table for the printer and ta daa...

This is the second time I've tried unsuccessfully to get another chair the same as the one in the picture above - both times they've been out of stock! At least the new store is much closer than the other Sydney one so I will have to call back again soon (Nooooo! says DH!) The other side of the study is still a work in progress - but at least in the meantime it's neat.

One of my searches at the moment is for a book shelf/ cabinet/ something for here:
 I spotted this in Ikea...what do you think? I'm not really sure if I should go conventional here or look for something more unique. It's part of the 'Hemnes' range and at $450, a fair bit more expensive than the Expedit shelves. Is it worth the extra? Too average for next to my lovely kitchen? Keep searching for that something special?
In other news, DH finally got around to completing a couple of odd jobs on the list.

We have house numbers up!

These pics are finally up. Beneath them will go my large wicker hamper for storing school bags. Can't wait to pick it up next week.

I bought this print on Etsy for Connor's room.

Describes my beautiful boy to a T!

And my 'little gem' is flowering.

He also fitted some speakers in the ceiling of the outdoor room (and lets just say, any jobs that require hours in the roof space will next time be designated to someone else!). My house will get a much needed clean tomorrow before being trashed the next day. With wet weather predicted and about 30 guests here, I hope the house stands up to it. The plan was to all be outside and kids coated in sunscreen for a day in the pool...if only I was in WA! (although it sounds a little too warm for my liking over there!) I'm back to work Friday and don't want a huge mess to deal with throughout the house!

Happy Australia Day to you all. Make the most of the conditions and have a good day.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Heaven Scent

I have always had a slight hesitation when it comes to candles...I didn't appreciate what a special scent can do to improve mood and relaxation. I've always been hopeless remembering to actually use them and have been nervous of the whole cause a fire thing (think latest tragedy in Queensland scenario - exactly what I've always feared).

Despite this, I have been given a couple of candles recently as gifts and seeing as I've been on holidays and had time up my sleeve, I thought I'd light a couple. I am in love. Just having a faint hint of subtle sweet vanilla is enough to make me an addict. Here are the culprits...

 And the more summery aroma of lime splice.

So, just wondering, who else indulges in burning beautifully scented candles? Often, or only during a relaxing dip in the bath? I already used them all the time when sitting outdoors in the evening, but the indoors-just for the sake of it thing is new. Once I'm back at work I'll probably not have time to scratch my nose again let alone light a candle - which is crazy, as that is exactly when I need a scent to relax me and calm down after a big day!


Friday, January 20, 2012

100 Not OUT!

This is post number 100 - a century of posts. It has been nearly a year since I started this blog, not long after the start of our build. Since hitting around post # 90, I have been thinking about what to write about for my 100th entry. I felt it needed to be something a bit special, but what?

Today, after popping on over to one of my many favourite blogs, as I do nearly every single day, I went on a research mission. Brooke from The House on Chambers had blogged recently about her find at a store 'West Elm'. Whilst browsing the store's website and all of their fab things, it occurred to me that one of the things I have loved most about blogging is learning things from all of you fellow bloggers, and that is what I will chat about today for my 100th blog post. So here is a list of the 10 most important things I have learned about over this time (from all areas of life).

1. Dreams can come true When DH and I got married nearly 11 years ago, we said that we would love to one day build a new home. To be honest though, I doubted it would be a dream we would ever see happen - maybe in retirement if we were lucky. I pinch myself everyday to help realise that we have achieved our dream. Hard work and determination (and a bit of naivety) have seen us get there well before expectation.

 2. Building a home is a challenge  It can be stressful, frustrating and worrying. It can also be rewarding, fulfilling and pride inducing (is that even a word?) I have never had to make so many important decisions in my life.

3. Blogging is addictive When I first started this blog I thought it would be fun to share my experiences during the build to whoever was interested. It was mostly a way to document the build and maybe chat with one or two fellow builders. Now I can't imagine ending my blog or not following others.

4. I have still not worked out my 'style'`And to be honest I'm not sure if I will. I have come to realise, after reading so many great blogs, that I like LOTS of styles. I have a style for this home, but if I ever move or build again, it is very possible I will go for a different look.

5. Make compromises My home is important to me, but there will always be times when you can't have what you want. There are more important things in life. Find something that will make do or be happy to wait as long as it takes to save for it. But don't buy above your means or for the sake of it.

6. Research Spend as much time as you can researching. Know what you want, what your options are, what things should cost, where things are available from. I have spent HOURS looking at websites and in stores. I don't count 1 minute of it as a waste of my time.

7. The world if full of interesting people I have loved conversing with people who live all around Australia. I love following your journeys, learning from you, checking out your latest finds and seeing a snippet of your interesting lives.

8. Know how you live If you've read my other posts you'll see this house build was all about lifestyle. As much as I want it to be beautiful, stylish even, it had to give me a certain lifestyle. I am an extremely busy working mum (I returned to my full time position as Assistant principal this past year) so when it comes to down time, this home has to do it for me. In particular, the outdoor entertaining areas, including the all important pool, had to be just right. Outdoors is still a long term work in progress, but overall this home ticks all of MY family's boxes.

9. Places to explore My home has me so content now that my attention has turned a little towards future travel. I still have a number of projects to complete, furniture and homewares to buy and artwork to dream about, but for a little while I want to put some spare coins towards exploring this beautiful country and beyond.

10. Home is where the HEART is No matter how much I want my home to look like something out of Home Beautiful or House and Garden magazine, the most important thing in life is family and friends. Both of our famillies have been very generous in helping us in many ways throughout the past 18 months. My husband's, my children's our families' health and happiness are the most important things, everything else comes second. 

A big thank you to everyone who has shared even a little of my journey. I will continue to blog about my home, my life, my family and my future dreams. I look forward to continuing to follow your progress and valuable information. I have lots in mind for future posts so stay tuned.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Range

I have just discovered that King Furniture have released a range of outdoor furniture. By the looks of it, there is one 'range' that is mix and match/rearrange just like you can do with most of their lounges. They only have a couple of pics but it looks lovely. Plus if it is anything like their lounges, it will be very solid and well made. Here is a couple of photos I found on their website.

It all looks very comfortable. I can picture myself lounging outside, reading a good book on one of these. As you can see, it looks like there are a number of pieces that can move around and be reconfigured to suit your area or occasion.

Our long term plan is to build in a BBQ and outdoor fire. We did have plans drawn up for this, but as to materials and the final 'look' the jury is still out. Plus we want to be able to do it without any sacrifice to the final product, so for now I will dream and watch the latest trends for outdoor living. I will post some pictures I find that show the sort of thing I am looking for and share soon.

I am also back on the search for shelving - I need some for two areas - and I need/want a really comfy chair with an ottoman/foot rest. I have been considering this one I found at King Furniture or the following 2 classics. Although I'm not sure that any of them are 'right' for the spot.
This is the King Furniture chair.

Those of you who have followed my blog for sometime will know that I do love a Barcelona Chair. 

Or the classic Eames. I like it in white. A friend has one, a real one - not a replica - and it is devine to sit in.
Anyway, must go and tidy for another round of friend entertaining and sleepovers today. I am actually quite exhausted from all of this running around after the kids! Yesterday we had one of a very few beautiful summers days this year, but it did take it's toll on my two and they are quite weary today too. Hopefully we'll get a bit of down time a bit later.


Monday, January 16, 2012


I took my kids for a visit to my dear nan this morning. She is the most amazing, active 87 year old you'll meet! You can't leave her place without a stomach full of delicious food and coffee. I want my kids to value the fact that they have a great grandmother who loves them. They still remember pop fondly, due to our weekly visits, although he has been gone about 3 years now.  

The weather in Sydney has been very disappointing to say the least (although great for my newly laid turf!) As we were leaving nan's I noticed the next round of dark ominous clouds and had to take a shot with my phone - amazing!

Then the clouds disappeared and we've had a windy but warm afternoon. We popped down to a newly renovated park at Cronulla before taking Connor to his guitar lesson. The water looked amazing - turquoise blue.

 I am trying to keep them active after the busy turf laying day Saturday when they just hung around the house and the terrible weather yesterday, as after a few weeks of holidays together they are starting to drive each other nuts - and therefore me too.

And thought I'd share this pic that I found on facebook today...oh to be relaxing in Tahiti in an over-water villa right now (without the voices of my children arguing!)

Think you could handle a bit of this??

I have my last bootcamp session tomorrow. I am feeling much better and my fitness has picked up quickly so I will have to keep motivated once it's over. I am starting a new one, just Saturdays, in a couple of weeks so that should keep me honest!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Down Tools

We are officially at 'down tools' for the summer. Today we turfed and gardened until our bodies ached. But it is a fab feeling, knowing that for now, all big jobs are done. There will be the odd picture hung, the odd ikea piece to put together and we still need to put the house numbers up, but these are 10 minute jobs not 8 hour jobs!!! This is the result of todays efforts...
Absolutely amazing the difference a little bit of grass makes. We have had lots of people walking past commenting and offering moral support. 

I bought the mulch in bags as I could not fathom wheelbarrowing another load of anything! 40 bags later!!!

You'll notice on the front left side we have a few rolls left. Pretty good estimation though. The bare patch is actually council land. I may roll out the extra turf...if I can move tomorrow! Because of the unusual shape block, we had to do LOTS of cutting and trimming of the turf rolls. Poor DH did most of this and is in pain from his efforts!

I planted a 'Little Gem' magnolia. Actually need 2 more but the size I bought (hard to tell in the picture) is expensive, so I will until next month. I do love them!

I also planted some fountain grass (gets a fair bit bigger than this). Not to everyone's taste but I happen to like it - especially the fluffy bits. We also have some large flax in the garden which was kindly given to us by a neighbour. 

And as a reward, this is what I am now enjoying.

Later this week I will show you a new planter I bought for inside and this will sit on the low shelf of the stand...
It's in the same large living area as this stool but not so close you can tell they are different.
I plan to soak in a bath after dinner...sooth my aching muscles. Thanks also to my dad who lent a hand this morning - not well but still rolls up his sleeves and helps out (won't take no for an answer!)