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Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant by Owen Beddall

Random House Australia have invited me to take part in the blog tour for the recently published book Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant: True Tales and Gossip from the Galley by Owen Beddal that hit book stores on 1 July 2014.

Owen Beddal is Australian born and of Anglo-Aboriginal decent and has spent his time since 2001 living between London and Australia while working with Qantas airline until he retired last year after a workplace injury. This is Owen's first book - a memoir.
 

This memoir is a behind the scenes look at what goes on behind the closed doors of an aeroplane through the eyes of the author Owen during his 12 years working with Australia's favourite airline Qantas - the flying kangaroo.
 
The life of a flight attendant is not all glamour and lifestyle as you would imagine but it does have it's fair share of sex, gossip and celebrity sightings! On the flip side there's also annoying passengers, nightmare flights and long hours away from home. This book shows you the good and bad of being a flight attendant.

This book also delves into the Qantas brand and Qantas 'family' and how it has changed throughout the years. I found the insight into Qantas really interesting and think that Owen is very brave to write such a tell all about the company he worked for. The places all across the world that the flight attendants travelled to, where they stayed and partied at were really interesting too.
 
I love to travel but flying is not my favourite way to get there I get a bit nervous on planes (maybe why I love cruises so much!). So I have a lot of respect for flight attendants whose job it is to fly through the air and look after all the passengers on board, all the while looking bright eyed and fresh faced with a smile on their face.
 
I recommend this book to anyone who has dreamed of becoming a flight attendant - this will tell it like it really is and then you can decide if it is still your dream! Also anyone who loves to travel this is a great insight into many port stops around the world.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5
 
Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch re-runs of Neighbours than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up a pack of tim tams for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant can be purchased from Random House Australia here

Sharing my book review on Random House here and Good Reads here

Disclosure: Random House Australia and NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their book and I was given this eBook published by Random House Australia to review. As always, all opinions are my own.


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Friday, July 18, 2014

Recipe: Slow Cooked Old Fashioned Curried Sausages

I always have sausages of some kind in the freezer, I buy quality sausages from the butcher, there's lots of different flavours to choose from and you can make a fairly cheap meal from them.
 
I used some little pork chipalatas that turned out great in this old fashioned curried sausages recipe. I've made this both in the Slow Cooker and on the stove top but find the Slow Cooker better as it makes the food a lot more tender.
 
Slow Cooked Old Fashioned Curried Sausages
Australian Women's Weekly: Slow Cooking Recipe Book
 
 
Ingredients:
500g of quality thick sausages - I used pork chipalatas
480g tin chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
1 brown onion, sliced
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tbs curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
Fresh parsley, chopped
 
Method:
1. Brown sausages in pan, add sliced onion, curry powder, cumin, coriander and paprika and stir until fragrant.
 
2. Add mix to slow cooker and stir in tomatoes, stock and potatoes.
 
3. Turn slow cooker to low and cook with the lid on for 8 hours.
 
4. Just before ready to serve, stir in the peas, fresh parsley and season with salt and cracked pepper. Cook for a few minutes on low with the lid off.
 
5. Meanwhile cook rice to serve (I added a teaspoon of tumeric to my rice as it's cooking for colour).
 
6. Serve in a bowl with rice, sausages and garnish with fresh parsley.
 
This dish is comfort food made easy! Enjoy!!
  
If you like sausages you might also like my Slow Cooker Sausage Stroganoff recipe
 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Making Progress .... Turning Our Toilet Into A Powder Room

On Saturday the long awaited day finally arrived .... something that has been on our to do list since the day we moved into the Jarrah Jungle almost 5 years now and it's so exciting to see our plans come to life!

The vanity and sink was installed thus turning
our small toilet into a functional powder room!

Gone are the days of walking through the entire house just to wash your hands ..... from the toilet in the laundry, through the kitchen, up the hallway, into the bathroom. Or trying to wash your hands at the laundry trough and turning the washing machine taps on by mistake which everyone use to do! So annoying!!
 
Here's a peek at our progress from the weekend ....

We fitted our new vanity, sink and mixer tap and the plumber hooked it all up to the new plumbing he installed a few weekends ago.
 
We hadn't yet picked out a mixer tap for the vanity but knew that we wanted it to match our laundry trough mixer with the same shape and style. On Saturday morning we ducked into Masters and picked out this Bello brand mixer tap for $109 which was a third of the price of our laundry mixer (which is a Phoenix Taps brand) but looks just as good.
 
 
 
The vanity was fitted over the new plumbing pipes, glass sink attached and the mixer tap installed - now we can finally wash our hands inside the toilet. Woo hoo!

I'm really happy with the small Cibo vanity we got from Bunnings it looks really stylish with the glass sink. It's compact and the perfect size for the powder room, the vanity covers the pipes and there's just enough room to store some toilet paper rolls inside.
  
 
 
Next the plumber installed our shiny new toilet and after 3 weeks of using the outdoor toilet in the Granny Flat I've never been so happy to have an indoor toilet before .... what a treat it is! I can stop dehydrating myself and drink water all day and wine all night without a care in the world!

We dug out all the old earthenware and terracotta pipes and laid all new new plumbing so that our new toilet would actually flush and work properly like it's meant to!

 
 
I'm so happy we have an indoor toilet again and I know our friends and family
will love that we have a working toilet that actually flushes!
No more sending them out to the Granny Flat!!

This week we want to finish painting the laundry and powder room, finish installing the flat pack cabinets, install the bench top, fit the laundry trough and mixer tap.
 
Once that's done we'll get the tiler back to do the splash back around the laundry bench and powder room basin and lay the kick tiles.
 
Once all the tiling is done we can set up our new front loader washing machine - I've flooded the Granny Flat twice using our current washing machine in there because the small kitchen sink can't take the amount of water that comes out of the machine and it overflowed EVERYWHERE  and to make matters worse because it's been so cold the wet carpets are taking ages to dry so it STINKS!

The joys of renovating!
 
You can see all my Laundry/Powder Room renovation progress posts here:


Linking up with:
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
Home Coming - The DIYers


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

If Your Couch Could Talk ..... What Would It Say?

Note: This post is sponsored by Super A-Mart
 
 
Today I'm talking couches ..... that one piece of furniture that most of us gravitate towards when we're home to relax, unwind, talk, watch TV, eat, drink, even sleep on!
 
The couch could tell one heck of a story don't you think!
 
If Your Couch Could Talk

Just imagine if your couch could talk .... What would it say?

Super A-Mart have come up with this clever infographic which has me thinking back to the couches I've had in my lifetime, surprisingly I have really fond memories of all of them.
 
My 1st couch went into the first home I rented as an independent 20-something leaving my parents farm behind for a life in the suburbs. I couldn't afford new furniture and gladly accepted hand me downs or second hand items like my first couch which I bought from an ad in the newspaper and I was so naive I didn't even ask the size of it .... turns out it was a huge modular couch that needed 2 vehicles to pick it up!
 
This couch was an ugly pale salmon colour and every mark and stain stood out and the velvet material attracted every form of hair and fluff. It was so retro it even had a built in coffee table and radio oh yes it was fancy! It wouldn't all fit in the house it was so big so part of it lived under the patio. BUT man was that couch comfortable and large enough to fit many bodies on for movie nights and sleep overs.
 
My first couch would say to me ....
You made sacrifices and went without and now it's time to move onwards and upwards
and let me go because I'm too big to fit into your next home! 
My 2nd couch went into my very first home I mortgaged, a modern inner city apartment with a small open plan living and dining area. I went for a practical couch/sofa bed thinking a small space would need extra bedding for friends staying over. The first week I moved in I went out and bought a new blue futon couch/bed with a metal frame. As a couch it was the most uncomfortable thing you've ever sat on but as a bed it was firm and did the job. There were many, many, many friends who crashed on that couch over the years!

This couch witnessed my bachelorette days with many parties, new found friendships, years of working, travelling and house sitters, did I say partying?! I had many nights of soul discovering sitting uncomfortably on that couch writing down my hopes, dreams and goals for the future. It was there through the highs and lows of life, when I was finding my way and discovering who I was.

My second couch would say to me .....
You never stopped chasing your dreams and along we way we had some unforgetable fun times!
I guess it's time for us to part ways now as you move into your first home with Mr P 

 
 
My 3rd couch is what I have now a beautiful, stylish, comfortable, chocolate leather modular couch and a matching 3 seater. Mr P and I bought these couches together when we moved into our first home Jarrah Jungle almost 5 years ago now. The couch has softened and relaxed over the years, it's still so comfortable, easy to wipe clean and covered in my ever growing collection of cushions and throw rugs.

This couch has been the saviour and place to wind down after long hours working and renovating. Where chats and wine, dinner for two, snuggling, foxtel watching, reading, relaxing, sleeping, all happens here. This couch is my rock, it's the heart of the home, it's where it all happens!

My third couch would say to me .....
You deserve to have beautiful things, so look after me and I'll be here for
many more years to keep you comforted, recharged and relaxed ....
just wipe the renovating dust off me occasionally ok?! 


I had so much fun reminiscing about my old couches and when I stopped and thought about it I was surprised that I remembered them all so clearly!
 
So now it's your turn to tell me If Your Couch Could Talk .... What Would It Say About You?
 

Disclosure: I have partnered with Super A-Mart for this sponsored post.


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[Infographic and all images via Super A-Mart]

 


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Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review and Preview: The Creative Shrub Garden By Andy McIndoe

This is a book review and preview of the book The Creative Shrub Garden: Eye-catching Combinations for Year-Round Interest by Andy McIndoe that is due to be published on 29 July 2014.

This book is written by Andy McIndoe, the Manging Director of Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres in Hampshire, England. Andy has been part of the Chelsea Flower Show for more than two decades and has bought home a record of 68 gold medals at the show.
 
 
This is a gardening book about creating eye catching combinations in the garden and to make the often taken for granted shrub into the star of the garden.

Home gardeners should know the key elements to garden design - perennials bloom year after year, annuals add bursts of colour and bulbs guarantee flowers. Hardy shrubs can play a role in your garden too and this book puts the shrub front and centre in garden design. It shows how combining shrubs with other plants can create layers and interest in the garden.
 
There are ideas for literally hundreds of different shrub combinations that work in many different garden designs - from coastal, cottage, Mediterranean, tropical, to urban and more.
 
The only thing I found hard about this book was because I didn't have a hard copy of the book, and because of the images I couldn't download it to my Kindle eReader so I had to read it off the computer which I found difficult. A hard copy version of this book would be a great reference guide to use when I'm gardening at home.

I recommend this book to garden lovers who want to use tried and tested gardening advice and want to have a creative shrub garden.

I give this book 3 stars

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch re-runs of Neighbours than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up a pack of tim tams for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


The Creative Shrub Garden can be purchased from Amazon here

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

Disclosure: NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their product. As part of this promotion I was given this eBook published by Timber Press to review. I have not received any payment or compensation for this review. I have not been told what to say about this product, I am free to form my own opinion and share them in my own words. All opinions are my own.

 
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Laundry/Powder Room Renovation - Tile-O-Rama

After the demolition and plumbing work in the laundry and powder room it was time to put the room back together and to do this the new floor tiles need to be laid.

We try to do most of the work ourselves on these renovations but decided to call in the professionals for the tiling because we want a quality professional finish and we just don't have the time to practice tiling ourselves. So we handed the tiling job over to the tiler who did our bathroom tiling and after bartering on a price we settled on $1200 which isn't too bad for the number of days they had to come back and do the work.

 

What we thought would be a 4 day job has turned into a 2 week turnaround because Winter's cold, wet, weather means that everything has taken longer to dry and set. This also means we lost a weekend of being able to renovate and get everything ready for the plumber this weekend - so we have been DIYing in the evenings this week to get it all done.

It just goes to show no matter how organised you are, always allow for changes in the schedule because nothing ever goes perfectly to plan when renovating!

On Tuesday last week - Two tilers came to screed the floor. They filled the laundry and toilet floor full of sand, stones and concrete and then screed it flat. They were in and out in under 4 hours.

Because we dug all the floor up to do the plumbing, the concrete was laid quite thickly and instead of them coming back the next day to do the waterproofing as planned, they had to leave it another few days to dry completely.

 
 
 
In the meantime as this is the only way into the backyard to Lexi and the toilet in the Granny Flat the tiler laid some tiles down as stepping stones for us to walk on.

So there I am having to carry my fur baby Lexi all 20kgs of her inside and outside while skipping on the stepping stones. It's this kind of thing that has you laughing afterwards but at the time it's like .... you've got to be f**king kidding me!?
 
 

On Thursday last week - The tiler came back to water proof the entire room. Being a wet area this protects the floor if there are any spills and water gets under the tiles. We then had to leave it to dry for another few days.

Because this is like a sticky paint, we couldn't walk on the floor for 24 hours. This meant the only way into the backyard was to bungee jump out the french doors balancing on leaning slabs and landing in soft muddy sand, usually in the pouring rain with gale force winds just to make it even more exciting!

Not to forget our fur baby Lexi had to be lifted up over our heads and in through the french doors, which meant sometimes she had to stay outside making sad doggy cries until Mr P came home to lift her in because I wasn't strong or tall enough to do it oh yes fun and games for the whole family!


On Monday this week - We were ready to get some tiles on the floor, and the tiler laid all the floor tiles in about 4 hours.

For our floor tiles - we picked out large 30 x 60 tiles in a modern grey. They're the same brand name and very similar to our bathroom tiles ..... except half the price!

We bought the tiles months ago but I had to go and buy another box of the floor tiles last week as the tiler said we didn't allow enough and he was right because there's just 3 tiles left over after he'd finished laying them all!




On Thursday this week - The tiler came back to grout the floor. Now the floor is completely done it can be walked on and is looking like a proper floor again! The grout is still wet in these photos and I'm hoping that it lightens up as it sets because I'm not completely happy with the dark colour right now :(

 
 
Phew so that was just getting the floor in! You don't know how good it feels to not have to stand on dirt and rubble inside the house, we've had some messy, sandy, damp and chilly weeks lately!

The next step is for us to get the the flat pack cabinets, bench top, toilet and vanity and sink in, which is the plan for this weekend.

Then the tiler will come back and finish laying the white kick tiles - this is so he can tile around the toilet and it also means our cabinets will sit flush against the wall without the kick tile being in the way.

He'll also lay the mosaic and tile splash back in the laundry and powder room and finish all the grouting and then it'll be done!

It is looking really good so far and those yellow and cream mosaic floor tiles are just a distant memory!




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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Laundry Renovation - Plastering, Sanding, Washing

We are now at the stage of the Laundry renovation when we're in too deep to back out and there's still so much work to do in front of us, that makes it both stressful and so bloody exciting!

This week we've had the tilers back and forth laying and grouting the floor tiles so we've had to be really careful on the new tiles. We've been working late into the evening every night this week to get the room ready for the weekend when the plumber is coming back to hook up all the plumbing, install the toilet and sinks etc.

Do you remember all the mess we made in this room
 
Well now we need to fix it all up!
Cover the walls with plaster, sand everything down smooth, wash it clean
and get it ready for painting! 

The Jarrah Jungle DIY duo ready for action!

Already I can see the progress we've made which is pretty exciting
 
Here are some before, during and now photos of the renovation so far

This is how the laundry walls were before with all the water services coming out from the ceiling and down the walls, plus we made a bit of a mess when the laundry trough and tiling was all removed.

The walls here don't need to be totally perfect because they will mostly be covered with the laundry cabinets and splash back tiling, but it still needed to be plastered over.
 
Before
Demolition and new plumbing
 
Walls plastered and sanded

As for the toilet this needed all new pipes and plumbing which meant more holes in the walls and we removed the side support bar on the wall, toilet roll holder, etc so we can put new fittings in.
 
Before
 
Demolition and Plumbing

Plastered ready for sanding
 
Sanded smooth
To convert the toilet into a powder room with a vanity and sink, meant cutting lines for the plumbing into the brick walls as well. So that all needed to be patched up, plastered and sanded.
 
Before
 
Demolition and plumbing

Freshly plastered it's grey when it's dry and goes white it's ready to be sanded
 
Here we are in action this week - plastering, white setting, sanding and then washing the walls and ceiling ready for painting. While Mr P features to be working in most of these photos, please note that I cooked our dinner, cleared the dishes and kitchen each night after all this work so that makes up for my lack of plastering skills!
 
Plastering with a concrete mix first

Then with white set plaster
 
Plastering is a lot like The Karate Kid .... Wax on Wax off!

Once the walls were plastered and dry it was my turn to get sanding

Washing the walls and ceiling with sugar soap and water
 
We are hoping to get an undercoat of paint on the walls before the cabinets, toilet and vanity are installed as this will make it much easier to paint.

This weekend we are installing the flat pack cabinets, bench top, toilet, vanity and sink and the plumber is coming to do all the plumbing work ..... it's all happening!

It's so exciting seeing the room transform with so many changes in just a few weeks, compared to the many years we have wanted to renovate this room!
 
You can see all my Laundry/Powder Room renovation progress posts here:
Laundry/Powder Room Renovation - Changing The Plumbing

Linking up with:
 
 
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