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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy Easter Everyone!

With the Easter weekend right in front of us I just wanted to wish you guys, my awesome readers, a fantastic Easter break.
I hope you eat far too many chocolates, overdose on hot cross buns, and just generally overindulge as is expected over Easter!

If you are travelling and going away stay safe and have a great time and if you are just chilling at home relax and enjoy!
I will be doing a mixture of work and play - dabbling in some DIY and ticking off some things on our to do list, catching up with friends and family, doggie dates planned, plus a much needed veg out in front of the TV day!
I won't be here writing on the blog as much but you can always find me posting on my Facebook and Instagram sharing snippets of our Easter break.

Happy Easter everyone!

Stay safe and Have fun xxx

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Break Projects - On The To Do List

The Easter break is just around the corner and Mr P and I have taken some extra days off work to have a nice long 10 day break.

Hopefully there's enough time to overdose on chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, catch up with friends and family and tackle some of the home improvement projects on the to do list.

This is our Easter break project to do list ....

Hang New Internal Doors - We want to replace all the internal doors in the house - the bedrooms, bathroom, toilet, hallway, etc.

We have picked out our doors and need to plane each back to fit. We will install brand new handles and hinges, give them a few coats of paint and hang them all shiny and new.

The house will look a million bucks when all the old rickety doors are replaced with these new sleek ones. Not to mention a lockable door on the bathroom .... my house guests will be happy about that!

A before post of our rickety old internal doors is still to come!
Install Courtyard Slats - We have decided on the metal Vs wood slat infills for our courtyard, we are going with maintenance free metal. After getting samples from 2 companies we have picked a colour that matches our garage door the best, we placed an order for the DIY slats and a gate and hopefully they're delivered by the end of the week.

We have bought a mitre saw to do the job (instead of paying a tradesman) and need to cut and install slats between each of the limestone pillars of the courtyard. We will also hang a new gate and install a mail box.

As soon as the Courtyard is enclosed, private and secure we can start landscaping and furnishing it. I am absolutely overflowing with ideas from gardening books and magazines for this!

The Courtyard in need of some fence slat infills

Laundry/Powder Room Renovation - We want to get the last of the supplies and materials for our Laundry/Powder Room so we can start the demo, get the jack hammer out and renovate this room.

We have a pretty good idea of what we want we just need to make some final decisions and go out and buy everything - toilet, laundry trough, bench top, flat pack cabinets, handles, powder room vanity and basin, taps, etc.

I can't wait to get started on this, it's the last room inside the house to be renovated and to have a toilet that will actually flush! Oh what a treat!!

Jarrah Jungle Laundry Room
My Laundry Mood Board

We are determined to get all 3 of the above started over the Easter break .... even if they don't get finished to make some progress would be great.

What's on your Easter break to do list?

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review and Preview: The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal

This is a book review and preview of the book The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal that was recently published in March 2014.

This is the second book I've read by American author Barbara O'Neal, the other was The Lost Recipe For Happiness that you can find my review for here.  Barbara is one busy novelist and has written more than 40 books!

This is the story about 4 women bloggers who form friendships online through their food blogs and travel miles to meet up and stay at one of the women's home, on a lavender farm in Oregon.

The first half of the story is about each of the women travelling to their destinations, the life they came from and the life they want to live. The second half is of their time on the farm, with each of them dealing with their own life dramas, hopes and dreams.

I really enjoyed how this book was written from the 4 very different characters points of view. Each woman was so vastly different in age and background, but their love of writing and blogging bring them together. I warmed to all of the characters and really felt for them on their journeys.

I've never read a book about blogs before and the references to taking photographs, writing posts and checking comments I really liked because I could relate to it so much being a blogger myself. That was my favourite part of the story, when they were blogging and sharing snapshots of their posts and recipes.

I recommend this book to any bloggers out there I think you will really relate and appreciate the friendships formed from blogging and how strangers can come together with a common and passionate interest - in this case it was food and blogging!
I give this book 4 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 All You Can Dream Buffet can be purchased from Random House here

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

Disclosure: Random House partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their product. As part of this promotion I was given this book 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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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hanging Pots And Plants

I really want to add some more plants and greenery to our patio and outdoor area to bring it to life.
When we added a new addition our rescue dog Lexi to our home just over a year ago, Lexi decided that every plastic pot under the patio was her chew toy and day after day another plant and pot was chewed and played with until there were none left. Even the few ceramic pots and plants I had weren't safe .... this large ceramic pot with succulents and pebbles was my favourite and the first plants I potted up when we moved into the house 4 years ago.
But just look at what these two got up to when we were dog sitting Lexi's big sister ....
Confession time dogs ... who did it?!
Yes that's Lexi looking extremely guilty at the back there!
So what pots are safe in the Jarrah Jungle patio area?
Well, these hanging pots and plants I picked up just before Christmas when doing some patio pimping have lasted well over the hot summer months and best of all Lexi can't reach them to destroy them!
I think succulents in hanging pots are my best bet if I want some greenery around. The thing I love about succulents is they don't need a lot of water and are pretty tough and hardy so survive well in small pots.
The lonely survivers ... hardy succulents hanging high out of harms way
I have seen a lot of different styles of hanging pots lately, especially the fabric pot holders which are a bit of a flashback from the 70s but with their bright colours are now on trend.
Here are some really great hanging planters I have pinned lately ....


What are your favourite plants for hanging pots?

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Laundry Renovation - Flat packs Vs Cabinet maker

For the cabinets in our previous renovation projects the bathroom and kitchen we had a cabinet maker help us design, custom make and install the cabinets for our bathroom vanity and kitchen cabinets.

The main reason was because space and storage were our number one priorities for these rooms, followed by wanting a real wow factor and professional finish.

For the bathroom, we couldn't find a vanity in the exact measurements we needed and to buy a stock standard vanity would mean losing out on precious storage space.
The same goes for the kitchen on an even larger scale - so we had custom made cupboards to fit every nook and cranny of our small kitchen to get the most storage as we possibly could squeeze out of the room.

The cupboards were made off site and assembled and then bought to my house all put together and ready to install by the handy man. Even then they were there for a few days and had to make minor adjustments along the way because in a 1960s house nothing is square, especially the walls, so to not have to deal with the headache of installing banks of kitchen cabinets perfectly was a great job for us to outsource! 

Our kitchen cabinetry - oven side

Sure, it is more expensive to get a cabinet maker, but paying someone else to make and install the cabinets meant that our time was free to do other renovation work like the demolition, preparation of the roomsshopping for all the bits and pieces, painting and finishing off the project.

There is so much to do when you are renovating that the cabinetry is just one part of it - although a very important part it is.

Kitchen design

It also means you are getting a professionals input into the design and layout of the room and the cabinetry that will work best in the space.

These guys do this day in and day out so listen to their advice, if they say all drawers in a vanity aren't going to work because of the pipes for sinks then listen to them (even though this meant my dream of drawers was crushed!). They are right 99.9% of the time and ultimately want to build you something that you are so happy with you can't wait to tell everyone about it, thus sending more business their way!
Bathroom vanity design
I also think you get a more professional look when the cupboards have been custom made by a cabinet maker. But that's just my opinion and I haven't yet tackled the entire range of flat packs that are now available to do a proper comparison ....
The tables have turned with our laundry renovation and we are looking at installing flat packs ourselves because it is a fairly straight forward job with just one wall of upper head and base cabinets. Also there seems to be flat pack cabinets to fit our wall measurements - space and size were issues in the bathroom and kitchen, but in the laundry our measurements work well.

So we figured there's really no excuse not to jump on the flat pack bandwagon and give it a go!

We want a bank of upper head cabinets and base cabinets along this wall

We have narrowed it down to 3 different ranges of flat packs - Ikea who are modern designs and have lots of clever ideas and additions, Bunnings who are a bit cheaper and come with more included (legs, door hinges and shelf) and Masters who are cheap as well and seem to have a better quality and range of finishes.
I will keep you posted on our flat pack journey ....

Have you installed flat pack cabinets in your home?

Sharing with link parties:
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
Home Coming - The DIYers
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Recipes: Autumn Soups

With the change in Seasons and now that the cooler Autumn weather is here, I have swapped my mid week meals of BBQs and refreshing salads with soups and warming comfort food.
Sundays are my day to put a big pot of soup on the stove and have it cook away while I tackle projects around the house. Then I know I have my comforting pot of soup in the fridge, ready on any night during the week when I don't feel like cooking I can just reheat and serve. Paired with a freshly baked loaf of bread from my bread maker and Mr P is happy too!
Here are some recipes I have saved to try over the coming cooler months ....
Mmmmm so many delicious soups to try.
Have you made any tasty soup recipes lately? 

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[Images and recipes via Taste - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Courtyard Project - Picking The Metal Slats

An update on our Courtyard Project and the wood Vs metal fence slats debate we have made a decision and are going with the more expensive but no maintenance option of metal slats.
I think it will look just as amazing in 10 years time as it does the day we install it and Mr P and I aren't one to do things half hearted, even if we don't intend to be living in this house in 10 years time, we still want it to be a quality home for the next person.
So decision made .... Sorry Lexi the metal has won this time!
So we are doing a DIY job on the fence slats and installing them ourselves. We measured the distance between each of the limestone pillars with a laser measure, which is a million times easier than a tape measure I can tell you! At this point we didn't need to be 100% accurate because the slats are sold in standard lengths and then you cut them to size yourself, so this was just to work out how many lengths we need, to work out the budget.
We found a local company AliTimber who do the timber grain finish over aluminium - it won't warp, split or crack, it has UV sun and salt protection and a 10 year warranty. Sounds good to me!
We got a brochure to work out what lengths we need to order. We will also be ordering a gate from them in the same materials. Now onto the fun part, getting the samples and picking a colour.
We need to see how the samples will look at the front of the house taking into consideration all the other exterior features and house colours - the limestone courtyard, cream house render, our jarrah look garage door and charcoal driveway and roof.
As for the colours of the slats, we had 4 to chose from - from left to right there is Snow Gum, Bushwood, Western Red Cedar, Jarrah - don't you just love the native Australian names!
Now remember these are aluminum materials and I think they are doing a damn good job at pretending to be real wood - don't you? They each have a different type of grain running through them and the colours are pretty spot on mimicking real wood.
Straight away we felt the first 2 on the left were too light and looked a bit washed out against the limestone. It was down to our 2 righties ... Western Red Cedar and Jarrah.
The wood look slats also need to match in nicely with our new garage door - the Jarrah on the left is a closer match but I'm worried it is too red especially when up against the pale limestone. Whereas the Western Red Cedar on the right has a more natural wood look.

They also need to look good against the limestone blocks as this is where they will be seen .... when placed here the Jarrah doesn't look as natural and the tone of it is very dark compared to the tone of the Western Red Cedar.
I thought back to my interior design training course studies which taught me that colour tones should always match and to pick the closest tone on tone you can if you want something to match or pick the biggest contrast if you want to make a statement .... in this case I'm going for a match of tones and it's definitely the Western Red Cedar tone of wood that matches the limestone bricks.
I'm leaning towards the Western Red Cedar BUT how can I name my blog Jarrah Jungle as a nod to my love of the jarrah wood through out my house and then not choose this Jarrah sample? See my dilemma readers!

So decision time - will we pick Jarrah or Western Red Cedar?

What colour do you like?

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