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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Back On The Blog .... And A Special Announcement!

Hello everyone, I know it's only been a few weeks since I signed off the blog but it feels like forever!While I love sharing snippets on Facebook and Instagram I really did miss writing on this blog space of mine. It's good to be back!

My holiday at home was great we almost finished the laundry/powder room renovation, we hung some internal doors and handles to all the bedrooms, we met with a surveyor and our local council about starting the subdivision process of our block. We threw an awesome Italian themed MKR dinner party and I have lots of recipes and table decor ideas I'm be sharing here soon.
We fit a lot into a few days at home and were well and truly ready for a holiday after that!
Our cruise holiday on board Carnival Legend around the South Pacific islands with Mr P and my parents was fantastic. Carnival Cruises were a really great cruise line to travel with I think they will do very well in their transition to Australian waters. I have so much to share about the cruise that it will need it's own blog post too ..... especially the delicious food on board I think I ate every hour on the hour!
I have been busy doing some product reviews which I must share with you soon as I think you may just want to add them to your Christmas shopping list! I also have some giveaways planned as well to get into the festive spirit. It's all happening, I just need to find the time between work and play to blog about it  :)
A really special moment that I have been absolutely dying to share is that Mr P asked me to marry him! We have been engaged for a little while now enough time to tell my family and friends although keeping it quiet while we were away on our cruise for the week was very hard but really special too giving us time to enjoy and savour the moment. It was such a beautiful proposal and a perfect way to start our holiday together .... once I'd gotten over the shock of it all that is!
Now you know that I love a good party and party planning is my favourite thing to do so I have a million ideas swimming around my head for the engagement party I'm just so exciting I can't wait to get started. I haven't thought too much about the wedding just yet I'm enjoying the excitement of the moment with family and friends and of course the love of my life Mr P xxx
So tell me what have you been up to?

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Friday, October 31, 2014

A Holiday At Home + At Sea

I'm just about to sign off the blog for a little while as I have a few days at home and then I'll be boarding the Carnival Legend cruise ship for an amazing cruise holiday around the South Pacific Islands!
My first day of holidays at home is put aside for some pampering at the day spa, it has been far to long since I've treated myself and I can't wait. Of course a mandatory sleep in and breakfast in bed is booked in too!
An espresso and fruit bread my kind of breakfast in bed!
It's also the first Melbourne Cup in about 6 years that both Mr P and I aren't working, usually I'm organising a function at work so I'm excited to have it off this year. We plan to spend the day at Ascot race track, having a flutter on the races, drinking champagne and soaking up the sunshine.

Hopefully we pick some winners, unlike the Kalgoorlie Cup last month where I won some and then lost some more!
My girls weekend away for the Kalgoorlie Cup
While we're away we have a house sitter staying over who loves to dog sit as well and absolutely spoils Lexi. We will have an extra dog staying too so Lexi and Fabio had a play date last weekend to make sure they'd get along.

I think Lexi has found her dog/boyfriend there was slobber everywhere and tails wagging and then falling into bed exhausted, a sure sign they are going to have a fantastic time together!

Our Lexi and her doggy friend Fabio
I have been given some great travel accessories to take on holiday to review and write about on my return home which I'm so excited about!

I've also been loaned (pretty please can't I keep them?!) an ASUS tablet and laptop to take as my travel companions to keep us entertained and better yet will mean I can keep in touch on social media - so be sure to follow Jarrah Jungle on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I'll be back to blog about our travel adventures soon!

Take care and have fun xx
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Recipe: Creamy Smoked Salmon Fettuccini

If you're looking for a dinner party dish to impress your guests then a serve of this rich and decadent pasta is perfect.

With only a few ingredients, it's fairly quick and easy to prepare because it's all about the smoked salmon. I smoked my salmon at home in my awesome Bradley Smoker but I'm sure it would taste just as good with quality store bought smoked salmon.

Creamy Smoked Salmon Fettuccine
1 fillet smoked salmon, cut into thin strips
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp capers, rinsed and chopped
2-3 tbs cream
1 tbs butter
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh fettuccine

1. Heat a large pan, add oil and fry off onion and garlic. Add cream and capers and stir frequently on low heat until combined.
2. Meanwhile cook fettuccine pasta until al dente. Reserve a cup of cooking water. Drain pasta and then return to pot with a knob of butter.
3. Add salmon and pasta to cream sauce and gently combine, add some of the reserved cooking water until the pasta is coated in sauce. Add fresh parsley and lots of cracked pepper.
4. Serve this indulgently rich pasta garnished with extra fresh parsley and enjoy!

Do you have a favourite smoked salmon recipe?

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MKR Italian Dinner Party - Tablescape Inspiration

For the third year in a row now Mr P and I are partaking in a My Kitchen Rules (yes like the TV show!) dinner party with friends and family - you can view our menu from previous years here and here.
This time we are going with an Italian themed menu and did a trial run of the entree, main and dessert last weekend to see if they are worthy dishes to serve to our MKR guests. The dessert needs a bit of tweaking, making sweets is not my strong point but I'm really happy with the other dishes.

Now that I'm feeling relaxed about the food I can focus on the decor and setting the table which is what I love to do! I found a set of burlap linen place mats for a steal at $4 a set and I'm going to base the tablescape around them and turning to Pinterest as always for inspiration ......
How would you decorate the table for an Italian themed dinner?

I will share the menu plan and recipes with you after the party!

Sharing with link party:
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday

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[All images via my Pinterest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: Already Dead By Jaye Ford

This is a book review of Already Dead by Jaye Ford that was recently published on 1 September 2014.

Jaye Ford is an Australian author and this is her fourth suspense novel. Jaye is a former news and sport journalist and is now a writer of crime fiction. She lives in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.

This is a murder mystery and suspense story about the main character Jax who becomes a young widow and single Mum to her little girl Zoe, when her husband dies in unusual circumstances.

Jax finds herself caught up in another murder mystery when a random stranger carjacks her and this is the story about her obsession to find the truth and solve the crime using her journalism experience.

This story is fast paced, action packed, exciting and from the very first page until the last it kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen to Jax and whether she would solve the mystery and come out of it alive.

The story is set in Newcastle, Australia and the descriptions of the cafes, beaches and bush were spot on I could see the scenes set in my mind like a movie.

I recommend this book to fans of suspense, mystery and thrillers, you will enjoy this modern read.
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

Already Dead can be purchased from Random House Australia
Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

You can find the author's website here

Disclosure:  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, October 24, 2014

Getting Ready To Render - The Back Of The House

When it comes to getting the biggest bang for our buck when renovating - rendering the ugly old 1960s bricks at the front of the house wins hands down.
The render instantly lifted the house and makes it look modern and it hides our brick garage extension we built on and looking at the house now you would think it had been built like that, not an add on.

Before any renovations
After - Render, new roof and garage extension

Cost wise to render the front of our house was less than $2,500 - this was for the render's labour (which we got at mates rates because he's a friend). It also includes the sand, lime and cement which we provided and hiring a scaffold which we organised to keep costs down further.
Mr P also helped out the renderer where he could, more hands make light work as they say! I also did my part and supplied lunch and cold drinks because if you keep your tradies happy while they're working they are going to do a fantastic job!
Our master of rendering hard at work!
Now that we have almost finished renovating the inside of the house (the laundry/powder room is almost done!) and any modifications that would have affected the brickwork have been done, like when we cut out the dining room window and turned it into a doorway - we are now ready to render.

We also need to render before we build a deck out here, which will run the length of the back from the laundry door across to the french doors. Another reason we are keen to get this done is because sitting on the deck with a glass of wine in hand has been a dream for about 5 years now since the very day we moved in!
Back of the house - With dining room window
Window turned into a door way with french doors
To render the walls we need to remove anything attached to them, this includes the sides and roof of the rickety old wooden bridge that goes from the laundry to the Granny Flat. We can't rip the whole bridge down because it's the only way to get into the Granny Flat which is set up high off the ground.
The new down pipes will also need to be removed and then replaced when finished.

We will also cut off the brick window ledges so that the render is sleek and smooth around all the windows that will then sit flush against the brick work, this also makes it much easier for the renderer.

We might try to paint all the new eaves while we have the scaffold hired as well, as that job has been put off for a few years now .... Can you imagine painting the underside of the eaves along the entire house? It's going to take forever!
The bridge from the laundry into the Granny Flat
The brick ledges around the windows will be cut off
We have booked in our renderer for late November to render the back of the house and I can't wait to see how it will look when it's all finished.
I will keep you posted with lots of juicy before and afters throughout the project. The best way to see our renovations as they happen is to follow Jarrah Jungle on Facebook and Instagram.

What do you think of render Vs exposed brick?

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Last Minute Cruise Holiday - On Carnival Legend!

Well, I just couldn't help myself and a weekend away with the girls and a trip to Sydney for work didn't completely satisfy my travel bug so I've booked a last minute cruise holiday that departs in just 14 sleeps!

Hooray 14 sleeps!!!!

Last year I went on a family cruise holiday onboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager Of The Seas with three generations of my family my Nanna, parents, aunt and uncle and Mr P.

This time around I'm going with my parents and Mr P - just the four of us and my parents are still very young at heart so I think there will be many late nights shaking our groove thang at the nightclubs or winning in the casino!

This will be us - pass me a cocktail!
We found a fantastic last minute deal that was too good to resist with bonus onboard credit yes please!

The cruise is a fairly short one 8 nights so we don't have to take too much time off work or be away from our furbaby Lexi too long, although our dog sitter/house sitter absolutely spoils her rotten so she probably won't miss us at all!

Our cruise ship - The Carnival Legend

We are cruising on the Carnival cruise line which moved to Aussie waters in September and will now call Sydney, Australia home. Our ship is the Carnival Legend which has had an "Aussiefication" to suit the Aussie's taste of food and wine so it'll be interesting to see what it's like onboard.

The cruise leaves from Sydney and goes to the South Pacific Islands Mare, Loyalty Islands and Noumea in New Caledonia. I've been to Loyalty Islands and Noumea before on the Pacific Jewel and the Voyager of the Seas cruise and they are the perfect places to relax, kick back and have a tropical holiday.

Mare - New Caledonia

Loyalty Islands - Lifou

Noumea - New Caledonia

Now my readers will know by now that I absolutely love cruise holidays and I'm really looking forward to a break from the renovating and my office job and to get away from it all.

I can't wait to walk the plank and board the Carnival Legend!

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[All images via Carnival]

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