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Friday, May 22, 2015

Jarrah Jungle - 5 Year Blog-versary

My blog turns 5 this week!

HAPPY BLOG-VERSARY JARRAH JUNGLE!!!!!

I want to start the blogversary celebrations by saying a big THANK YOU to all you guys,
my awesome readers for your support and encouragement over these years 
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH xxx


I can't believe I've been writing about my home renovations on Jarrah Jungle for 5 years now and I still have so much more to write about!

We hope to finish the renovations and projects on the house this year with September 2015 marking 6 years in the Jarrah Jungle home.

I have a dozen projects half done that I am determined to get finished so I can share them with you in the coming months and finally get those ugly befores and pretty afters up on the blog and update my House Tour!


As you know we plan to put our back block on the market to sell once we have finished with the subdivision process, possibly at the end of this year or early next year.

With the Jarrah Jungle backyard being divided in two, I want to document the subdivision process and how the retain and build turns out for us so I'll continue to blog about it here, if you're interested then stay tuned for more updates!

This year has and will be the most exciting of all with so many of our dreams and plans for the future turning into a reality and I feel that the hard work and sacrifices we've made over the years are now coming to fruition.


As for the future of the Jarrah Jungle blog .... it's not going anywhere!

My weekly book reviews are still going strong, I love getting books to review from Netgalley before they are published (if you have a blog you can do the same check out my blog post on how to be a book reviewer here).

My Book Club is going into it's 4th year and we have become such great friends it was the best decision I made joining a book club, if you've ever wanted to start your own book club check out my blog post here.


I have craft and creative projects on the go with the engagement and wedding and I'm currently working on some DIY projects which I'll share here on the blog soon.

Speaking of weddings ..... we're having a 10 month engagement which has been really exciting but it also means I've got less than 4 months left to plan the wedding and honeymoon!

If I've learnt anything from wedding planning so far it's how to manage my time, be super organised with spreadsheets and learn to juggle, all while sticking to a budget!


Thanks again to all my readers near and far for coming on this home loving journey with me and sticking around for a whopping 5 years now!

I have made some wonderful online bloggy buddies and have enjoyed seeing your blogs change and grow over the years it's an amazing community to be a part of  xx


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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

MobileZap - Mobile + Tablet Accessories

I had the paper book Vs e-book debate with myself for a long time before I finally succumbed to buying a tablet so I could download e-books.

Without an e-reader I wouldn't be able to access and read the amount of books I read and review, averaging about one a week, when I was reading hard copy books I was only getting through one a month.


After researching the best tablets on the market I decided on the Nexus 7 2013 tablet and while I mostly use it as an e-reader, I also use it for social media, checking emails and surfing the web as well.

I love that the screen is bigger and easier to use than my phone and it doesn't take ages to start up like my laptop - my tablet is definitely my favourite gadget.


But there are some things about the tablet that I find a little annoying .....

The screen is hard to type with because the keypad covers half the screen.

I also have problems with the charger not working, it just doesn't seem to connect and I leave it to charge only to come back hours later and see the battery has a sad 5% remaining because it's lost it's connection. 


MobileZap an online retailer based in New South Wales stocks accessories for all different brands of mobile phones and tablets and they sent me some accessories for my Nexus tablet.

I didn't need to wait by the mailbox for long, the products arrived in just a few days, very impressive for interstate delivery.

Their website is really easy to navigate and has heaps of information and reviews for each product - I always rely on customer reviews before buying something, I want to know if it works as it should and any pros and cons etc before making a decision.



I received the Hawara Bluetooth Keyboard and Cover and all I can say is I wish I'd had a keyboard for my tablet a long time ago!

It was easy to clip the keyboard onto the tablet, turn it on, then go through the bluetooth settings to connect it to my tablet and I was typing away in no time.


I find myself using the keyboard to type emails now it's much easier because half the screen isn't covered with the tablet keypad so you can see more.

You can fold the tablet down into the keyboard and it becomes a screen cover, which is really clever and looks a lot more stylish than my old lime green cover!


I also found it handy to use the keyboard as a stand so I don't need to hold onto the tablet or try to prop it up onto cushions like I usually do.

This was especially great for watching videos, I've been on YouTube for everything wedding lately - from watching first wedding dances to how to make my own wedding flower bouquet so this has been a big help to watch them hands free!


I also received a Qi Wireless Charging Dock and my days of frustratingly crouching down under the bed to plug in the charger only to find hours later it has come out and my tablet is now dead flat are over!

I had real issues with my charger not connecting and I discovered from reading reviews on the MobileZap website that this seems to be a known problem with these tablets and the standard charger.


This wireless docking station has solved that problem, I just sit the tablet on it, plug it in and it starts charging.

It didn't have an Australian power adapter so I had to plug it into an adapter to suit our power point, but that was no problem as I already had one from my travels overseas.


It acts like a stand to, so if I'm reading from a recipe I just pop it in the stand and it charges and I can read from it at the same time.

When I need to charge my tablet now I just place my tablet on the docking station, I find it so much easier than using a standard charger which has officially been packed away with the other redundant cables.


I was thinking I'd need to upgrade my tablet soon but with these accessories it feels like I have a whole new device and have pretty much turned my tablet into a mini laptop.


What's your favourite device to use - phone, tablet or laptop?


Disclosure: Thanks very much to MobileZap for providing me with these tablet accessories to review. I have not received any payment or compensation for this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review and Sneak Preview: The Truth According To Us By Annie Barrows

This is a book review and sneak preview of The Truth According To Us by Annie Barrows that is due to be published by Random House on 9 June 2015.

Annie Barrows lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters. She has written a number of books about diverse subjects such as fortune telling, urban legends and opera and even a series of children's books.


This story starts in the hot and sweaty Summer of 1938 and is narrated by a 12 year old girl Willa Romeyn who lives with her aunts, father and sister in the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia.

The history of the Romeyn's family is told when a spoilt young girl Layla is sent to board at their home and write about the History of Macedonia. As talk of the town unfolds, the family's ghosts and secrets come out, and this is what the story is based around.

What stood out to me was the love between brother and sister and all of the family, they definitely put each other first no matter what.

I liked the writing style and the characters, especially when it was Willa narrating I thought she was adorable. The descriptions of the scenery and homes was brilliant I felt like I was right there with the family on the porch feeling the hot summer breeze on my skin.

Unfortunately, I didn't get into the theme of the book until half way through when it picked up the pace and I found the start of the book to be far too long. It was only when love stories developed and emerged and more was discovered of the family's background that I became engaged with the story. To be honest if it wasn't for the writing style that I enjoyed so much, I was tempted to not even finish this book. But I'm no quitter, I can't handle not finishing a book I've started and I'm glad I finished because it really did end with a bang and all the questions were answered in the end.

I recommend this to readers interested in historical American fiction of the 1930's era.


I give this book 2 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 paint dry 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 the last tim tam for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


The Truth According To Us can be purchased direct from the author here or Random House


Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

You can visit the author's website here

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


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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dismantling The Patio

We are making progress with clearing our block for subdivision and once we cleared out the Granny Flat it was time to dismantle and pull down the patio.

Our old rusty patio we were sure was going to fall down in the first year we moved in, it rattles and shakes and drops rust everywhere whenever it's windy enough, but what do you know it's lasted through all the wind and storms 5 years on!



We moved everything out of the way, the outdoor furniture is in storage, we gave away a lot of our building material and stored what we wanted to keep along the back fence. Pot plants, decor, even the BBQ we have relocated against the side of the house so it's under the shelter of the eaves of the house.

Everything will be relocated to either the courtyard at the front of the house or to our new deck and patio area once we finish building it. I already miss my Sunday night roast dinners in the Weber BBQ so hopefully it's not too long a wait!



Mr P got up on the ladder and popped the rivets out of each metal sheet, then pushed the sheets along one by one until they were all taken down. 

We have given all the sheeting to our neighbor who wants to re-use it to build something. This was a bonus for us as it's one less thing to put in the skip bin, we just passed it over the fence!





Next the steel framework was unbolted from the granny flat and taken down. Some parts needed to be cut down with a cordless metal saw.

Piece by piece and bit by bit and step by step ohhhh baby the patio was dismantled!




Now we can see nothing but blue sky, except when it rains of course then it's a grey sky and everything gets wet without the patio roof on!

We've made a temporary dog house for Lexi under the Granny Flat steps, I think she is going to miss her massive patio sized dog house just as much as we will.




Our next job is to pull up all the pavers and remove the two concrete septic tanks that are underneath - this was part of the conditions of subdivision that they be taken out. The tanks have already been decommissioned but we filled them with sand and rubble so they're going to be a real pain to dig up and remove, we might need to hire some machinery to do it.

Once the pavers and tanks are removed, we will get the truck and crane in to take the Granny Flat away.

The subdivision is progressing nicely although I already miss having our big patio to sit under with a glass of wine and a good book!


Sharing with link parties:
Curly Crafty Mom - Motivational Mondays
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays


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Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Club Book Review: Moloka'i By Alan Brennert

My Book Club's book choice for the month of May was Moloka'i by Alan Brennert


This is a story of Hawaii in the late 1800s and is based on true circumstances.

The main character Rachel is seven years old when she's taken from her family and sent to Kalaupapa a 'leper colony' on the Island of Molaka'i with others who are sick with leprosy and are there to live out the rest of their days.

There were many characters that played a part throughout the book and it become like a community, a small town with marriages, affairs, and small town gossip. But it had a lot of sickness, death and sadness too.

Life on Kalaupapa seemed to stand still with simple living conditions and many residents lived without electricity in their homes and basic food supplies, while over the ocean their capital Honolulu was expanding and growing and seemed to forget about the thousands of Hawaiian's they sent to the settlement.

To the people that lived on the settlement this was not a prison it was their home, although society often portrayed it to be like a prison and those that were sent there treated like dirty criminals. When the only crime they committed was becoming sick with this mysterious disease they knew little about how to treat or how it was spread.

Based on true circumstances, I found this story to be very confronting and interesting. It taught me a lot about the history of Hawaii and about how medicine and disease were treated back in the old days too. The only downside was this was a very long book and sometimes long winded to get to where ever it was going.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Hawaiian culture or old time medicine practises.

I give this book 3 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 paint dry 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 the last tim tam for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read

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[Image via Alan Brennert]

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Holy Smokes It's May Already ! ?

First of all let me apologise for my lack of blog posts lately but my typing fingers were out of action after a dual with my fancy new Japanese peeler which has blades as sharp as a Japanese samurai sword and took the top of my little finger off.

It was as painful as it sounds and after almost two weeks of not being able to cook (yay!) or wash up (double yay!) I'm back on the keyboard now but still a little slow and sore.




I can't believe we are in May already and before I know it we'll be half way through the year!

The year started so relaxed and chilled and now my calendar is filling up with weddings, parties, anything, every other weekend!

Speaking of weddings .... there's just 4 months until Mr P and I get hitched. So far I have organised the venue, ceremony, transport, accommodation and the honeymoon.

Next is to find my wedding dress then I'll know what the colour scheme for the bridesmaids, decor, invitations etc will be and everything will flow from that. I'm enjoying the process and not getting stressed out - remembering my word for 2015 LOVE whenever I can is a big help.

It's so easy to get caught up on everything weddings - the expectations and pressures are bigger than I ever imagined. But what it's made me realise is that the wedding is the celebration part, it's the marriage that's important to us and that will be there long after the big wedding day.



On the home front the renovations and projects on the house are progressing, the subdivision process has started and we are talking about when to sell our back block once subdivided.

We may put the block on the market when we get back from our honeymoon if the timing is right, otherwise we will wait until the new year.

Once we sell our block and before whomever buys it starts to build on it, we want to move on from our beloved Jarrah Jungle and start looking for our next house to live in.

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make in your life and I don't want to be rushed into it and want to give myself at least 6 months of house hunting to find our next house. I just can't see us having the time to spend our weekend at home opens until after the honeymoon or early next year.

Plus a big part of me doesn't want to leave our Jarrah Jungle home I get all nostalgic thinking about the memories we've made here in Mr P and I's first home together.


This is going to be one of the biggest year of my life with all these big projects on the go so if I'm not as frequent on the blog you will have to forgive me.

I am finding many bloggers are posting less and less, there are only a few dedicated bloggers that still post every day.

I think with social media it's so easy to share snippets and photos on Instagram and Facebook whereas it takes a lot longer to invest the time and effort into writing, editing, and posting a complete blog post.

I still love how my blog documents my home renovation journey and it's worth it to me to invest the time into that. Well when I have the time that is!

So on that note, thank you my awesome readers (yes you!) for popping in, feel free to say hi and leave a comment, it means a lot to know you've stopped by.

Tell me what's been happening for you? Any big projects planned?


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[Images via my Pinterest 1, 2, 3]


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Review: Abandoned NYC By Will Ellis

This is a book review of Abandoned NYC by Will Ellis that was published by Schiffer Publishing on 28 February 2015

Will Ellis is a Brooklyn based writer and photographer who has been documenting New York's abandoned spaces since 2012 which he shares on his blog and now in this book.
This is a beautiful and haunting photography book of the lost and lonely corners of America's New York City and surrounding areas.

It covers 16 buildings and areas that have been abandoned, with heaps of full page photographs, and a run down of the history of what they use to be used for and what the future plans for these buildings are, if any. There are schools, factories, institutions, and many more buildings all left to rot and decay, it made me sad to see them go to such waste.

This is a really interesting book visually - the images are not pretty, they are eerie and ugly, and draw you in to want to know why these spaces look like this now and what they use to be home to.

It's the kind of book you can keep on your coffee table to flip through every now and then and it's also a great conversation starter. The photography in this book could be framed and turned into art if you could bring yourself to tear out the pages from a book!

I recommend this book to anyone interested in NYC behind the scenes that you would never normally see and photography book fans.


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 paint dry 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 the last tim tam for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


Abandoned NYC can be purchased direct from the author here or Schiffer Publishing


Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

You can visit the author's website here

Disclosure:  NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote authors and their books and I was given a hardcopy of this book published by Schiffer Publishing to review. As always, all opinions are my own.


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[Image via AbandonedNYC]

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