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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Australian Best Blogs Competition 2013

Warning: This post contains selfless self promoting!
 
You may have noticed the button over on my side bar that says Best Australian Blogs Nominee ... Well I'm excited to say voting has officially opened in the Best Australian Blogs 2013 Competition and I would be so happy if you voted for the Jarrah Jungle blog here.



 
With over 1000 talented Aussie bloggers entered I'm under no delusion that I'll be in best blogs section but I do know that I fit into a niche area as one of the few renovating blogs in suburban Perth. I want to be a trail blazer for tried and tested house and home projects and share my renovation experiences with fellow readers. It would be so great if you helped me get some exposure to turn my renovating bloggy dreams into reality!
 
The prize includes books from Random House Australia which would come in so handy with my monthly book reviews and a Writing Course to improve my creative writing skills.
 
You can vote for as many blogs as you like but you only get one chance to complete the form - listed alphabetically you can see the full list of nominees here
 
Thanks so much for your support xx

#bestblogs13
 
[Images via WritersCentre]
 
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thumbs Up For The Courtyard Plans

I have some exciting news to share - the Courtyard / Retaining / Fence plans have been approved!
 
Since my last update in February 2013 we were up to our 3rd attempt at getting the Council to approve them and had paid 2 different application fees. We have now received our Building License and are good to go! I'm just glad it only took 3 months and not over a year like it took them to approve the garage.
 
The front courtyard with it's solid brick and timber fence around the front of the house is going to make the place a lot more private and secure which will be great.
 
We'd like to get our brickie who built the garage walls back to build the fence he did such a great job. We'll dig the trenches ourselves to save some money .... Phfft who am I kidding the Mr will dig the trenches not me I'd better live up to the Sandwich Queen reputation and make some delicious sandwiches that day to compensate for the hard work!
 
Once the retaining is in a new driveway and pathway to the front door can be laid too.
 
It couldn't have come at a better time as the weather here in Perth is turning into Autumn and the rain is making the sandy uneven driveway muddy and dangerous. Since the garage was finished back in September 2012 I've been reversing my car out and have ripped my front spoiler off twice now and no it's not my driving skills :D it's because I'm using planks of wood and if the wheels aren't balanced on the wood planks perfectly the spoiler catches. It's not fun I can tell you it always happens when I have to be somewhere at a certain time!
 
 
Because the Kitchen renovation has already kicked off and we'll have a bit of work to do over the next few weeks with that, the Courtyard project will most likely have to wait until the Kitchen has been finished.
 
Having 2 big projects ready to go and I'm not stressed about it at all like I thought I would be I'm really excited and can't wait to see the transformation these renovations will make to our home.
  
[Image my own]
 
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Club: Life of Pi By Yann Martel

The March Book Club read was Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Being a bargain queen translation tight ass! this is the first book I've bought for Book Club in the past 2 years as I've always managed to borrow them from the library or friends. This book was so popular there was a 3 months waitlist so I took myself to Dymocks for their 2 for $30 deals.

 
Life of Pi is the story told by an old man Pi of his childhood and his incredible survival from a sunken ship.

Pi is a young boy who grows up in India with his family who run a zoo. His family decide to head overseas in search of a more prosperous life and they board a ship with some of their zoo animals to sell and head off on their adventure. The ship sinks and the boy is then left drifting upon the seas with some surviving zoo animals and a certain man killing bengal tiger. The talk of the zoo animals makes sense once you realise his knowledge of animals is going to mean his survival with them.
 
Honestly, there were parts of this book I wasn't sure if they were made up through hallucinating or whether they were true. I did enjoy the adventure and thrill of the unknown with this book. I found the survival techniques pretty confronting and was turned off seafood while reading it!

I would recommend this book to everyone young and old it is a tale of travel, religion, family and survival that everyone can relate to. I liked this book but didn't love it, I give it 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
 
[Image via Dymocks]
 
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Blogging Your Way E Course - Blog Boss Week 3

I'm now over the half way point of the Blog Boss course and into Week 3.
 
 
The homework for this week was to dream big and express how we want our dream blog to look and feel. Some clever bloggers in class did digital mood boards where as mine was a big long list in boring ole bullet point form. I really want to get more tech savvy and learn more graphic design and photo programs to create digital mood boards etc - what graphic/mood board/photo programs do you use ?
 
There were some sessions on organising ideas and I've now started an ideas notebook that I keep at home for all my post ideas, no matter how big or small I jot them down so I don't forget about them and can stay organised. I'm constantly thinking of different blog posts when I'm out shopping, or in the shower, or sitting at my desk at work so I find this tip really useful!
 
There was a bit of business discussion about earning money through blogging with advertising and products and services. This is something I'm going to spend some time researching as I would really like to venture into this. I don't think it's something I want to rush into, I need to get my blog looking how I want it to and will then approach some businesses (some have already approached me!) and see if we can work together.

Lessons on how to approach a business I found really helpful as I want to start doing this with the big renovations I'm tackling like my kitchen renovation. It's easy to send an email but to walk into a shop with a proposal I know I'm going to get all hot and flushed and nervous about what to say! I've made lots of notes about this lesson which I'll be putting into practice in the next few weeks. I have a bit of analysing to do, critiquing and basically learning to be the editor in chief of my blog.

What I love about this course is a lot of emphasis is put on being happy and doing the things that you love which just reinstates to me time and time again that I absolutely love blogging, I love to write and interact with all the lovely readers out there, meet inspiring bloggers and drool over their lovely blogs and spaces. You guys are awesome you make me feel so happy and content when you comment and read my blog and likewise I get so much joy reading about what is happening in your space in the world. I smile at the computer screen like an idiot - thank god you can't see me!
 
 
Week 3 recap #blogboss
See my Week 1 recap
here
See my Week 2 homework here
See my Week 2 recap here
 
[Image via Holly Becker Decor8]
 
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Fridays Letters - Dear Mum's 60th Birthday

I missed last Friday's Letters but I'm back into it again this week and sharing over at The Sweet Season why don't you head on over here and link up some letters too.
 
I'm imagining this weeks letters are written from this old school writing desk with its awesome wall art.
 
 
Dear Mum's 60th Birthday - You are the most beautiful Mum in the world your heart shines with kindness inside and out and you light up the room with your smile. I can't wait to spend the entire weekend with you celebrating with Birthday shenanigans!

Dear Big Bro's Birthday - Don't worry I haven't forgotten you either, I'll still have more than a few cheers with you too bro!

Dear Rottnest - I haven't been to Perth's favourite little island for years what a great place to spend a Birthday weekend.

Dear Sun - You better keep on shining this weekend so I can throw on the bikini for one last time before summer is well and truly over!

Dear Lexi - Week 9 and 10 and you are following the Mr around like a bad smell. Oh don't worry about me I'll just keep myself company on the couch while you go watch him shower. Yes we have a double shower. No you can't join him!

Dear Decor8 ecourse - Last week's content has really inspired me. I wish I had of enrolled in one of Holly's courses sooner she is a real inspiration and truth be told I  now have a bit of a girl crush :D
 
Dear Kitchen Renovation - The final measure was done this week I don't believe it that means the cabinets are officially being made. Right. This. Minute! Kitchen renovation here I come!
 
Photobucket
 
 Head over here to join in Friday's Letters
 
[Image via Pinterest]

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Target Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Target giveaway I hope you had some fun making up your wishlists for the massive home sale.
 
Before I pack away my cocktail glasses in preparation for the kitchen renovation I have put them to good use to draw out a lucky winner .....
 
All entries in 
 
 
And the winner is
 
 
Korene Dusting
 
 
Congratulations Korene I will be in touch to send the gift card your way.

For those that missed out Target has extended their Massive Home Sale to this Sunday, 24 March 2013.

Happy shopping!
 
[All images my own]

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our Kitchen Renovation Action Plan

When I first started dreaming about my kitchen renovation I worked out the first steps for planning a kitchen renovation and now that the renovation is underway I've prepared a more detailed and step by step action plan.
 

My action plan is a 3 page list with dates of when something needs to be done, what it is, and who is doing it (us or trades). I need to be super organised with a big project like this so it flows from one thing to another - if I'm not, I'll end up pressured to buy things on the spot, the project will drag on forever and undoubtedly I'll end up spending more money which nobody wants to do.
 
So this the short version of our kitchen renovation action plan:
  1. Start inspiration file / Visit showrooms for ideas (I've been doing this for years in anticipation!)
  2. Get 2 quotes from kitchen companies - Design 1 and Design 2
  3. Choose cabinetry, handles and bench top
  4. Choose splash back
  5. Buy new appliances (oven, stove, range hood, microwave, dishwasher)
  6. Buy sink and tap ware
  7. Turn the garage into a makeshift kitchen with microwave, fridge, pantry etc
  8. Pack up the kitchen cupboards and keep out only the essentials
  9. Pack up pantry and keep food essentials in makeshift pantry
  10. Move from dining area the wine buffet and fish tank into Study/Craft Room
  11. Order new french doors to be made for dining area (doors will go out onto a deck - still to be built!)
  12. Final meet up and measure with kitchen company
  13. Demolition time!
  14. Rip out all the old cupboards
  15. Knock down brick wall of walk in pantry
  16. Knock out exterior brick wall and window to make doorway for french doors
  17. Double check measurements for french doors and have installed
  18. Repair hole in ceiling where pantry wall removed (most likely we will need to replace entire ceiling)
  19. Patch and prepare walls, window and door frames, skirting and ceiling (paint some areas now and the rest once new kitchen installed)
  20. Repair hole in floorboards where pantry wall removed
  21. Sand and fill gaps in floorboards (ready to be sealed and restored once new kitchen installed)
  22. Go shopping for bar stools, rug, lights and wall art
  23. Organise plumbing and electrical work tradies
  24. New cabinetry and bench tops to be installed
  25. New oven, stove top and range hood to be installed
  26. New sink and dishwasher to be installed
  27. Organise tiler to do splash back
  28. Finish painting - walls, window and door frames, skirting and ceiling
  29. Seal and restore floorboards
  30. Unpack the boxes of kitchenware in storage that I've long since forgotten about!
  31. Bring the fridge back in and stock with well earned beers and wine
  32. Unpack food into the shiny new pantry
  33. Stand back and admire our awesome new kitchen
  34. Throw a kitchen party to thank all those that fed us during the renovation!
So far we're working our way towards No 14 we haven't finalised anything but the wheels are in motion ... we've been appliance and door shopping the last 3 weekends in a row but not actually bought anything yet!


I will keep you posted over the coming weeks as to how I'm coping with no kitchen comforts, what products and appliances we chose and why, how we go with the installation and whether my insanity is in tact after weeks of having no kitchen!
 
[All images my own]
 
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Blogging Your Way E Course - Blog Boss Week 2

I can't believe the amount of inspiration I've already gained from the Decor8 Blog Boss ecourse. I've just completed Week 2 (you can see Week 1 here) and have so many ideas and visions for my blog swimming around my head and in my heart that I want to put into action.
 
 
Week 2 of the course started with us writing a list of blogs that rock and why - you can see my list here. There are so many fantastic bloggers out there and everyone is drawn to blogs for different reasons. For me I follow a lot of different genres - not just renovating and decorating which are my main passion but also some Mummy bloggers who have fun personalities and great stories to tell, photography, food and travel blogs are also favourites of mine.
 
We also covered the business side of blogging - finances, planning and etiquette.
 
It has really got me thinking about treating my blog like a business. I've been writing lots of notes and making changes to my blog almost daily as things come to mind. If that doesn't show you what an inspiring course this is, I don't know what will!
 
There were also some big questions this week I had to ask myself - What do I want to do? Why do I want to do it? How do I want to do it? and When do I want to do it? I'm going to write a business plan with time frames so I can work towards my goals. In fact those 4 words will work for any project or goals in life - What, Why, How, When are the best questions to ask yourself from the start
  
Isn't it funny when you starting wanting something in life some how those things make their way to you? I have turned my  mind towards my blog as a business and wanting it to grow into something that could potentially provide an income and happiness to me at the same time. And low and behold what happens I start receiving emails from companies about sponsorship and advertising. I think it's really cool how the universe throws things towards you at the right moment ... well world my arms are wide open so bring it on!
 
I'm really excited to learn more about being a blog boss so I can turn these dreams into reality!
 
 
Week 2 recap #blogboss
See my Week 1 recap
here
See my Week 2 homework here
 
[Images via Decor8]
 
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Target Massive Home Sale And A Giveway

Note: This is a sponsored post

If there's one thing ok the only thing that will get me out of bed early it's that the Target Perth city store opens bright and early at 8am so I can shop the aisles on my way to work before I head into the office.
 
Some bargains are just too good not to share and because the Massive Home Sale is on until 20 March 2013 you can share in the thrill of the sale too! To help you with your bargain hunting I have a $40 Target Gift Card up for grabs for one lucky reader to create your own Massive Home Sale wish list!
 
There are a heap of home decor items on sale but I've managed to narrow it down and create a wish list for my bathroom. It's been a while since my last bathroom purchase (which was another Target shopping spree!)

Here is my bathroom Wish List
 
Towels glorious towels were at the top of my list
 

I picked up this towel set (but in purple)
2 bath towels, hand towel, face washer and bonus bath mat 
$25 (was $50) 


Next on my list was this soap dispenser which has a bit of a natural granite look
to match in with my granite bathroom vanity
$9.80 (was $14)
 

A girl can never have enough candles ... especially scented candles
 

I couldn't resist this cute owl candle ... it's official owls are my new bird obsession!
$6.75 (was $9)
 
 
The final item on my list was a tray to keep things tidy and hold the soap and candle


In the tableware section I found a Mayfair and Jackson set of 3 white platters in
different sizes the smallest is perfect for the bathroom and the others I'll use in the kitchen
$12 (was $20)
 

I hauled all my purchases home and this is how it came together


In the bathroom I laid out the fluffy new bath mat
I need to buy another one I think with twin basins it looks better with 2 bath mats
 
 
I've never had purple towels before and love the vibrancy against the grey and white palette
 
 
 
Sitting everything on the tray makes it look neat and tidy
 
 

So now it's your turn to spoil yourself and your home and create a Wish List of your own - for your chance to win a $40 Target gift card all you need to do is:
 
1) Become a Follower of Jarrah Jungle
2) Like Jarrah Jungle on Facebook
3) Leave a comment telling me what is on your Target Massive Home Wish List
4) Giveway open to Australian Residents only
5) Competition closes Wednesday 20 March 2013

Winner will be drawn at random and announced on Thursday 21 March 2013 ... Good luck everyone!

Disclosure: Target partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their products. This is a sponsored post and I have been paid for my time and gifted $50 voucher to spend at Target in store on home products. Product selection was at my own discretion. I am free to form my own opinion and share them in my own words. Gift card will be posted to winner. This prize cannot be exchanged for money.
 
 Target sponsored post #massivehomewishlist
 
[All images my own]
 
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blogs That Rock and Why


There are so many awesome blogs out there and I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I've been known to spend hours trawling through blogs absorbing pretty pictures and words that draw me in. What I've noticed the most is that it's the words that I respond to from bloggers that have a story to tell or a point to make.

As part of this week's homework for the Decor8 ecourse I'm going to showcase some blogs that rock my world and why. I've also discovered some new blogs through the ecourse that I'm drawn to and looking forward to getting to know them more.
 
1. Young House Love - I've gushed before about how I admire the cool couple at YHL. I have seen them grow from first time renovators to now full time bloggers, a job that I secretly aspire to do myself one day :D Although there is a lot going on their blog (they have a lot to offer!) it is still easy to follow and professionally laid out.
 
2. Maxabella Loves - I know when I go to Maxabella's posts I'm going to read something of substance about real life that will either make me cringe and think she can't say that or I'll smile and nod my head in agreeance. Maxabella engages with the blogging community hosting link parties and even doing a little and lovely shout out to me when I first started blogging of which I'm so very grateful for.
 
3. Selective Potential - Is one of the only fashion blogs I follow but what I love about Tiekia's blog is it's not just how awesome she looks but there is always a story behind it like a new place discovered. Tiekia's blog has grown incredibly in the 3 years I've followed her and is a real inspiration to me.
 
4. Vanisha's Life in Australia - Vanisha is a Fijian living in Australia and is one clever cookie. Vanisha's posts are personal but at the same time they offer advice and information that I always find helpful.
 
5. Homely One - Amanda is a fellow Perth girl who blogs about her gorgeous family and home life. Amanda is natural and down to earth and it's always a joy to read her tales of motherhood and turning her house into a home.
 
6. In The Night Sky - Natalie blogs from trendy Melbourne and has a healthy obsession with spray painting and renovating. I find Natalie's blog really easy to navigate around and find the latest diy projects or recipes.
 
7. Tracy Burr Photography - This is a new blog I have discovered by being drawn  in by the beautifully styled photographs taken by Tracy at weddings in the UK. I hope to learn how to style my own photos as well as Tracy one of these days!
 
8. Lolalina - This is a new blog I have discovered by Laura who loves to decorate and has a pretty blog to prove it. The layout and feel of the blog is like candy for my eyes. I know I'm going to be a regular admirer of Laura's posts.

Thanks for being such an inspiration and enjoyable read fellow bloggers :D
 

Homework Week 2 #blogboss
See my Week 1 recap here

[Image via Pinterest and decor8]
 
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shiny Ceramic Stool Obsession

I have wanted a shiny ceramic stool to use as a side table for ages but haven't seen one under the $100 price tag. My inner Bargain Queen told me to hang in there and like a tiger stalking the prey I've been waiting on the sidelines for the right moment to claim my bargain ... sorry I'm reading Life of Pi and have tigers on the brain!
 
On my latest bargain shopping spree at The Reject Shop I spied their brochure on the counter and staring straight at me were ceramic stools with the amazing price of $40. Sadly, they didn't have any in that store so I rang around until I found a store that had some in stock and took myself shopping.
 
I figured at that price I could totally be greedy and get one in each colour .... but unfortunately there was only one white one left and it was marked. So I bought one red and one black not so greedy after all! 
 
The black stool I put in the Living Room styled with my favourite YHL book and I can't kill it it's fake terrarium :D
 
 
 
The red stool was made for the Man Cave it adds a bright pop of red and is the perfect perch for a beer and computer remote ... what more could a man need?
 
 
 
Have you scored any bargains recently?

Sharing with link up parties:
 
[All images my own. Catalogue image The Reject Shop]
 
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

12 Tips For Booking A Cruise Holiday


Having no upcoming holiday to look forward to this year (besides my New York dreaming  but that trip isn't possible now with a kitchen renovation and Courtyard this year!) I've been reminiscing about my last holiday sailing across the seas visiting tropical islands with an endless supply of cocktails and white fluffy towels sigh yes I'm still relishing my cruise holiday from last year.

I have been on 4 cruises both with family, extended family, my best friend and my partner Mr P and each was a totally different experience on different ships and destinations:
 
  • 1999 - 8 week cruise on the Oriana with my parents and brother when I was 18 we went from Fremantle to Southampton in the UK in a 4 berth cabin aka bunk beds oh yes it was very cosy!
  • 2003 - 3 day out at sea Fremantle cruise on the Super Star Virgo with my bestie and we partied constantly - drank, swam and sang karaoke until we lost our voices.
  • 2008 - 14 day cruise around Australia on the Sun Princess for my Nanna's 80th Birthday I shared the cabin with my Nanna and my parents and Aunt and Uncle had their own double cabins as well. It was a treasured family holiday that we still laugh about now and my Nanna wants to go again!
  • 2012 - My latest 10 day cruise on the Pacific Jewel travelled around the South Pacific with Mr P and I and was the fanciest cabin I've ever had with our own balcony and was a really romantic fun holiday.


I've gushed before about the many reasons to go on a cruise holiday and now want to share some hints and tips on what to do once you've actually booked your cruise holiday as there's always a lot of uncertainty from first timer cruisers on what to pack, wear, buy, etc.
 
1. Singles are welcome - Don't be afraid of booking on your own. There were lots of single meet ups and events so that everyone got to know one another. If your friends or family aren't in a position to travel with you why should you miss out on a good time - don't wait be brave and cruise solo!
 
2. Pick your destination - There are many cruises now leaving from Australian ports. If you can get one that you fly to one destination and then cruise back to your home port, this way you don't need to worry about airports and how much your suitcase weighs on your trip home. Arriving at your destination by ship and walking off for a full day of adventure Vs Waiting at airports in endless lines then battling traffic to get to your destination - I know which one I'd rather do!
 
3. Check the weather - Research the weather that time of year in your destination because if it is tornado season the last place you want to be is on the ocean! The seas can get rough so just do some research beforehand to make sure you will be travelling at a good time of year so it'll be sunshine and happy days.

4. The daily newsletter is your bible - It will be delivered to your cabin each evening with a calendar of events for the next day as well as the dress code so you can plan what you're going to wear. These are the 2 biggest decisions each day - what to wear and what to do! The newsletter is like your bible, carry it around with you each day so you know whats going on and where - heaven forbid you're late for Bingo!

5. Professional photographers - The photographers snap photos of you getting on and off the ship and also some portrait nights which is a good opportunity to get some family/partner etc portraits. These are displayed the very next day and cost $20 onwards for each print. If you've ever wanted to get portrait shots done (see mine here) this is your chance as it's free to do it and no obligation to buy any photos unless you want to. Plus you feel like a bit of a superstar being snapped and photographed :D
 
6. If you get sea sick - Don't mess about - pop some seasickness tablets before you board. Get up on deck in the fresh air, have a drink and don't think about it just relax and enjoy yourself. I get sick on small boats and have been known to feel sick on a cruise ship, but mine is more fear of the water than rocking of the boat. As soon as you get on they do a safety drill and use the life boats to tender you to shore at some port stops so you realise safety is paramount on these ships and you are in very safe hands.

 
7. All entertainment is included - I'm talking live shows every night - dancing, comedy, magicians, singers, etc. There are usually 2 time slots to suit both the late and early diners so make sure you book your dinner around the entertainment so you don't miss out. It pays to get there a bit early too so you can grab yourself a good spot with a drink in hand ready to be entertained.
 
8. Almost all meals are included in the price - There will always be the buffet with convenient long hours for breakfast lunch and dinner and a fine dining restaurant with shorter hours for breakfast lunch and dinner. Be sure to enjoy dinner in the restaurant it's an excuse to dress up nice and be waited on and chose from a 3-4 course dinner each night. I was shocked to speak to some cruise folk who hadn't been to the restaurant only the buffet - put that tray down and go experience some silver service people!
 
9. Cocktails & Cruising - Drinks are the main thing you'll spend money on. The bonus is you can buy a drink and walk around anywhere on the ship, from pool bar to your cabin, from the restaurant to the theatre, where ever you like. Another tip is to buy a bottle of wine which you can take around with you and it works out cheaper than buying by the glass or you can take the bottle back to your cabin. You aren't allowed to bring booze on board and anything bought on they'll hold for you until you get off - this has caused a lot of upset as even the Duty Free bottles onboard they don't allow you to drink they are for taking home. My tip is Bacardi and Vodka look a lot like water if you want to take a chance and fill your 'water bottle' before boarding :D
 
10. Don't take a beach towel - They have an endless supply of towels for the pool and you can even take them ashore for the day. I've heard rumours of there being fights in the laundry so don't spend your holiday washing or ironing in the laundry room, take enough clothes with  you so you don't need to. There's a small clothesline in your shower for your smalls to make use of but just don't hang board shorts and a tshirt from it or it might snap oops yes that was me!
 
11. What to pack - During the day casual clothes for the ship - jeans, shorts, singlets, cardis, dresses and flat sandals. It can get cool in the air conditioning and out on deck so pack a jacket and cardi. Don't strut around in your bikini unless your beside the pool put a cover up on especially if going to eat at one of the restaurants some people have no shame! Same goes for men  - jeans, shorts, tshirts. After 5.30pm the dress code is smart casual or more formal on certain nights. Smart casual is dresses, skirts, pants, nice top for men it's dress pants and button up shirt. Formal night is long evening dress and for men dress pants, button up shirt and tie optional. Bring out the bling ladies here's your chance to dress to impress. There may be some theme nights as well like Hawaiian or Country and Western we also had Pirate and Back In Time 50s-80s dress up on my latest cruise. If you don't find out beforehand what the theme is you can always visit a cheap shop when your ashore and grab something for your costume.

12. Just like a hotel - You can book a cheap cabin down the bottom of the ship with no window or a more expensive cabin with a balcony or go all out on the deluxe suite. Once on board everyone is equal - you are all there to enjoy the restaurants, entertainment, together so it doesn't matter where you rest your head at night you will all get your money worth from a cruise holiday. I prefer the balcony because you can step out and see the weather so you know what to get dressed in for the day and it also meant you don't have to scramble up to the top deck to view the scenery you can do so from your balcony or even better while laying on your bed!

 
I could think of a lot more tips but I think that's enough reading for now!
 
If there is anything you'd like to ask about cruising fire away I'm happy to help!

[All images  my own] 
 
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Blogging Your Way Ecourse - Blog Boss Week 1

The long awaited Blogging Your Way e-course kicked off last week and I have never been happier to be a student!
 
  
I found myself sitting on my bed with the laptop ala Carrie Bradshaw watching the web casts and reading through the student forum of bloggers introducing themselves. So many students from all across the world and a few from Australia too which I'm happy about it's always great to meet some fellow bloggers closer to home.
 
Week 1 was a bit of reading, interacting with the other students, and some blog pimping our blog bios and main page. Thinking like a boss there were also topics on life/work balance, working from home, and when to ask for help.
 
I did the homework on the first day being the nerd I am! It was a to do list that we had to post onto the forum - putting it on the forum for everyone to see definitely makes me more inclined to get things done and make some changes. My to do list is printed and stuck on my fridge at home as a reminder of what my goals are.
 

I've never done an online course before and after a bit of clicking around the website it makes sense to me now, the layout and how we will interact with one another and how we will be taught from Holly and the other teachers. Straight from the get go Holly has been professional friendly and engaging.

I can't wait to see what Week 2 brings!
 
[Image via Holly Decor8]
 
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Friday's Letters - Dear Date Night

Even after a Long Weekend it has been a very long week for me ... Let's hope the weekend goes a bit slower so I can enjoy it!
 
It's time for some Friday's Letters over at The Sweet Season why don't you head on over here and link up too.
 
Today I'm imagining I'm writing my letters from this pretty in pink office space.
 
 
Dear Date Night - It's always good to find a local restaurant with amazing tasty food ... Thai Orchid in Mt Lawley did not disappoint possibly the best curry puffs ever!
 
Dear Lexi - Week 8 and we are letting you inside at night to hang out with us in front of the TV until it's time for bed. It's great having you inside but even harder to put you back outside with those cute little pleading eyes.
 
Dear Typo - I will never tire of visiting your store there's always something shiny and cool that gets my attention like my latest purchase a set of 3 ceramic swallows for a steal at $10.
 
Dear Decor8 Ecourse - I started the Blog Boss course this week and have been doing my homework, watching podcasts and making lists. So far it's really interesting and engaging. I could get use to being my own boss!
 
Dear Kitchen Reno - I can't believe we have signed off on the design and paid the deposit so the kitchen reno is officially underway. There are going to be some amazing dinner parties in the not to distant future!
 
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kitchen Design Signed And Ready To Go

It's official .... I've signed on the dotted line to confirm the kitchen design which means in about 7 weeks time my retro kitchen is going to be a distant memory of chipboard and tiny cupboards. I have butterflys in my tummy whenever I think about the kitchen reno I'm so excited !
 
We got 2 quotes for the kitchen renovation - Design 1 had the L shape bench with lots of storage and Design 2 had the island bench with a more open feel and more bench space near the cooker. We went with Design 2 because we liked the layout, better quality bench top and the price includes installation.

Here are the 2 designs side by side :

Design 1 - Cooker
Cooker layout against back wall with no bench top cooking space
 
 
Design 2 - Cooker
Cooker layout against side wall with bench top cooking space either side
 
 
At the second meeting with the Kitchen Designers this week we tweaked the original design by moving the pantry so we didn't have to brick in the kitchen window I always feel guilty about bricking up windows like you're taking away the effort someone put in to give you natural light! It's great we could work around that and although the pantry is going to be really narrow it will be long so will still fit all the essentials in there.
 
Design 1 - Pantry
Pantry and appliance cupboard built around fridge set up
 
 

Design 2 - Pantry
Pantry in front of window would need to modify window
 
 
 Design 2 - Pantry sketches
Our hand amendments putting pantry to side and against back wall


Design 2 - Pantry final
Pantry against back wall with overhead cupboards and open shelving

 
The debate over the Island Bench vs L Shape Bench had the Island Bench come out the winner mainly because of the open feel it would bring to the kitchen.  
 
Design 1
L Shape Bench with Sink Bench
 
 
 Design 2
Island Bench and Sink Bench
 

We may need to tweak the sink bench to fit in the bank of drawers, dishwasher, sink cupboard and a pull out bin drawer. Our bin is currently in the laundry which just doesn't work it's a real pain to run back and forward when your cooking so it really needs to fit in the kitchen if we can squeeze it in.

As for storage, you'll see in the Design 2 images the kitchen has overhead cabinets over the fridge, pantry and open shelves. There is only 1 low cupboard and that is under the sink.

There are banks of drawers in the Island Bench, along the sink bench, next to the cook top and under the microwave. Drawers are a must for the kitchen they make everything so much easier to see and access ... no more crawling into the cupboard to find the lid that matches the container!

It's not my dream kitchen but it's the best we could come up with in the small space we have to work with :D

Let the renovations begin!


[All images my own]
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