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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

1000th Blog Post Milestone

This marks the 1000th yes that's one thousand blog posts that I have written, edited and published on my beloved Jarrah Jungle blog over the last 6 years.

I've got to say I'm proud of my achievement of being consistent and writing for so long.


I spend a lot of time on my blog keeping it up to date and it's been a big dedication and commitment over the years - even more so now with social media channels attached to my blog it could almost be a full time (unpaid!) job to keep my blog and social media following up to date.

Learning how to build a website and maintain it is also a continuing learning curve and I intend to keep building on and improving the look of my blog this year.



My blog is my creative outlet and place to share stories and write whatever I feel like.

Although it's mostly home related of course as that is why I started to blog in the first place to document our home renovations. I can't believe 6 years on we are still renovating - it has been so long we are starting to renovate the renovations and now we are turning it into a family friendly home there will be many more home loving blog posts to come.

I also love to write about my travel adventures, share my latest book reviews and tasty recipes.


With big changes afoot in my work life as I transition from full time career woman to stay at home Mum I'm hoping that being able to blog during the day instead of late at night after work will be a positive thing.

I really want to focus on the business side of my blog more and see what I can do better and improve on this year. I am planning to upgrade my old ancient laptop to a newer fancier model as well which will help too as this old laptop can't even keep up with my fast typing speed and drives me nuts!

Thanks for reading 999 blog posts and if you've made it all the way down here thanks for reading 1000! I really appreciate your comments, likes, shares and support of my blog all these years so thank you so much!!

Please let me know what you would like to see more of on the blog this year - What blog posts do you like to read? More recipes? More creative projects? Product reviews? Something else!

I'd love to hear from you let me know in a comment below or drop me an email at jarrahjungle@hotmail.com


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Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Review: Cooking For Picasso By Camille Aubray

This is a book review of Cooking For Picasso by Camille Aubray that was published by Harper Collins Australia on 1 September 2016.

Camille Aubray is an Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship winner and a writer in residence at Karolyi Foundation in the South of France and studied writing at the Humber College School of Creative Writing Workshop in Toronto. Camille divides her time between Connecticut and the South of France. This is her first novel.


This is a story told in parallel chapters in different time zones across a family generation - from the grandmother as a young woman and then the granddaughter learning about her family's history.

Set in 1936 a 17 year old Ondine who helps in the kitchen in her family cafe in France is to bring meals to the famous artist Picasso every day. I both loved and loathed Picasso but found his art very interesting and even learning of his womanizing ways was quite intriguing. Ondine was such a strong woman for her time and lived an interesting life and I loved her part of the story.

Set in the 21th century young Celine who is Ondine's granddaughter and lives in New York tells the other part of the story. When Celine's mother becomes ill she travels back to France to learn the history of their family particularly about her grandmother. Add to this an entertaining cooking school with a famous chef and Celine on a soul searching mission and you have yourself a very interesting modern day story.

The chapters flowed seamlessly together and were told by such strong and likable female characters, the writing was just brilliant and it kept me engaged and interested until the very end. I admit I was drawn to this book initially because of the element of food and it really delivered on that -  from traditional French cooking to a modern day cooking school - this really added a point of difference to the story and will appeal to food lovers.

Being that the story is set in France this is a perfect holiday read and on my recent Indonesian holiday it was my faithful poolside companion!


I recommend this book to anyone who likes art, food and the romance of France - you will love this book.

I give this book 5 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 give up a bottle of the worlds best champagne for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


Cooking For Picasso can be purchased from the author here or Harper Collins Australia


Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

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


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[1st image via Harper Collins Australia and 2nd image my own]

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Courtyard Garden Update: Outdoor Furniture

I had visions of how I wanted to design our courtyard garden with a beautiful lounge setting, outdoor rug, bar cart .... all I needed was a cabana boy and the fantasy would have been perfect!

But the reality is with our courtyard being open to all the elements, whilst it has a shade sail this is made from a fabric which lets the sunlight the rain through so it's not as protected as say a solid roofed patio area would be.


Plus it is at the front of the house and people walking past or cars driving by can see in so I didn't want to go too over the top with flashy furniture and decor out here - I'll save that for the backyard and deck area which will be completely private and with a patio roof so protected from the elements as well.


So I had to be sensible about the type of furniture and decor I picked for the courtyard.

I picked these acapulco chairs for a few reasons - they are modern and add a splash of colour and there is no fabric on the chairs so they won't get damaged in the rain and weather (a few outdoor cushions adds a bit of colour and I picked them up for $6 each so if they don't last I won't be too worried!).

The chairs were a bargain from Kmart - I got the blue chairs about 2 years ago for around $30 each and the black double chairs on sale for $29 each.



Once we had sealed the courtyard pavers to protect them and the shade sail was installed it was time for the fun part of setting up the outdoor furniture.

The chairs are really lightweight and so easy to move around so I set this up one weekend while Mr P was busy helping a friend. The ceramic stool is a perfect little side table and I found it at Bunnings on sale for $10 - I have 3 more ceramic stools in the house in different colours which I may bring outside as well.




We have been sitting out here in the late afternoon after work enjoying the last of the suns rays and watching the sunset.

I'm still on the look out for some nice feature pots and plants to add some greenery and the veggie and herb gardens need some more plants and TLC as well and then the courtyard garden is pretty much finished.

What style of outdoor furniture do you love .... lounges, chairs, a hammock, something else? 



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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My One Word 2017 - Grow

Hi everyone! Happiest of New Years to you!!

At the start of each year, instead of writing a list of new year resolutions I won't stick to, I think about just one word to live by for the next 12 months that will act as my new year resolution - a word to focus on and strive towards.

The idea of having one word came from beautiful blogger Maxabella Loves and you can share your own One Word For 2017 over on Maxabella Loves.

My previous words over the years have been

Going back to my 2016 word change I was a newlywed and being married was an exciting milestone in my life and I wanted to think about change in a positive way because let's face it change can be scary and daunting as it's the fear of the unknown. I really feel that I lived by that word last year and challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone and make and embrace changes in my life and more importantly within myself.

The biggest change for me on a personal note was deciding if I wanted to be a Mum and start a family with my amazing husband Mr P. It took many years to come to this decision as it will bring so many changes to my body, freedom, wants and needs, a career I've focused on for 20 years, and to the relationship between Mr P and I as we make room for a little bundle of nappies and smiles. Becoming parents was not a decision we made lightly but we decided we were finally ready and I'm excited to say I have a bun in the oven with our little one due in May! 

Now if that's not living by my 2016 word change I don't know what is!

Without further ado my one word for 2017 is GROW


Just like a seed being planted or a flower about to bloom I am focused on the word grow this year.

On the inside I want to bloom and grow into my new role as a Mum. I can barely change a nappy and have so much to learn about what being Mum is all about. So much personal growth is in front of me and it's a little ok a lot daunting but I know I can do it.

On the outside I'm halfway through my pregnancy and my baby bump is growing bigger by the day. I'm learning to embrace the changes my body is going through and not let doubt and worry get the better of me. Afterall millions of women go through this every year and if they can do it so can I.

Mr P and I's home is going to grow and fill with love as we start our little family. This also means making room for our new addition to the household and turning our beloved Jarrah Jungle into a family home is at the very top of our to do list.

So much growing to do on the inside and outside this year and grow is such a perfect word for me to embrace.


I felt quite emotional typing this blog post today and I don't normally get so personal, what can I say, it must by the pregnancy hormones!

If you had to pick just one word to live by this year .... what would it be?


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Friday, December 16, 2016

Merry Christmas Everyone - See You In 2017

With Christmas fast approaching I'm signing off the blog today and will be back again in the New Year.

As always when I'm not on the blog you can still keep up with me on my social media pages Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you all so much for your continued support of my blog this year - I know blogs are becoming less popular than they once were but after six years of blogging I'm not ready to give up on my beloved Jarrah Jungle blog just yet! So thank you for stopping by, commenting and letting me know you are there it really means a lot to me.


I have a few weeks off work over Christmas and New Years to holiday at home. 

Christmas will be busy visiting all the family and for New Years we are heading to the coast for a beach getaway with friends which will be a lot of fun.

Over the break on the home front we will be working on our outdoor spaces and hope to finish our new backyard deck and patio project and also the herb and vegetable garden needs some TLC in the front courtyard.

I have some relaxing dates with my couch and plan to get through the books stacking up on my reading list - I'll share the book reviews with you here as well as on Good Reads - you can find me here  (if you're on Good Reads let me know so I can follow your reviews too!) 

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you all that your heart hopes for and more. See you on the flip side in 2017! xxx


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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 ... A Very Plain Christmas

It's with a heavy heart I tell you all that I won't be decorating the Jarrah Jungle home for Christmas this year! Shock horror I know right I can't quite believe it myself!!

I  know some of you may have been waiting to see what theme I'd come up with this year and sadly the theme is going to be .... A very plain Christmas!


The reason I can't decorate is we're having work done to our living room ceiling and so I can't put the Christmas tree in it's normal spot in here because we have to move all the furniture out and cover everything up ready for the dusty work to begin.

The carpenter who is building our deck and patio also does ceilings and Mr P and I recently started a DIY ceiling lift in the living room and master bedroom using ceiling washers (much like we lifted the laundry ceiling). The carpenter is going to finish this off and plaster, skim and sand the ceiling for us which will save us a heap of time and work - then we'll just need to paint.

The downside is all my lovely Christmas decorations will need to stay packed away this year.


Every day that Christmas gets closer and my Instagram feed fills up with people's beautiful homes and sparkling Christmas trees and decorations and I'm just so sad that I can't be a part of the festivities as I just love to decorate for Christmas.

Each year I pick a different theme - you can see my previous year's themes here 201020112012201320142015 ... 2016 is going to be a very plain Christmas!



All I can say is watch out for next year because I'm going to have to go bigger and better than ever to make up for this years non-decorating.

This isn't the first time renovating has stopped my Christmas cheer but hopefully it will be the last!

On a positive note at least I won't have tiny bits of tinsel and glitter scattered all over my house like I usually do!!

How are you decorating for Christmas this year? Do you have a theme?


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Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Review: Christmas At Designer's Homes Across America By Katharine and Patricia McMillan

This is a book review of Christmas At Designer's Homes Across America by Katharine and Patricia McMillan that was published by Schiffer Books on 28 September 2016.

Katharine is a psychologist and writer interested in human factors in design and has co-authored 10 books on design. Patricia is an interior designer who has authored 15 books on interior design and architecture. Kat and Pat are partners at Strahan McKillan, Architecture and Interior Design in Texas.


This is a beautiful design book of homes decorated and styled for the Christmas holidays by designers with extreme decorating styles - they have gone all out to turn their homes into a festive space.

I love looking into peoples homes to see how real people live rather than a perfectly styled space just for a magazine or book spread. I just find it to be more real and being that in this case the owners are interior designers and decorators - their homes are absolutely exquisite!

There are stories of how each designer celebrated Christmas with their friends and family and it it's nice to have this personal touch to the book so it isn't just about decorating but the people who live there as well and how they celebrate the season.

The book has so many ideas to decorate your home for Christmas and whilst I usually change up my themes each year I have taken away some great ideas to try out. A great tip is to buy quality over quantity - that's one that I have come to realise and agree with wholeheartedly.

These homes are all located in America which has a winter Christmas and the themes suit a cold and cosy season which is quite different to my summer Australian Christmas where I decorate with brights and a summery theme!

A hardcopy of this book is a must to enjoy the stunning images and it is already taking pride of place on my coffee table at Christmas time. What a great gift idea it is too!

I recommend this design book to anyone who loves to decorate for Christmas in a classy and elegant way.

I give this book 5 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 give up a bottle of the worlds best champagne for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


Christmas At Designer's Homes Across America can be purchased from Schiffer Books


Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley


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 Books to review. As always, all opinions are my own.


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[Image via Schiffer Books]


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