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Friday, January 31, 2014

Photo A Day: January Days 17 - 31

So this is my second half round up of Fat Mum Slim's January photo a day challenge that I've been playing along with by taking a photo every day of the month following the daily word prompts and sharing my photos on my Facebook and Instagram as well as doing a round up here on the blog.
 
I found it really helpful to save the word prompt image to the background of my phone to remind me what photo to take that day!

I really love the challenge of finding a photo every single day ... looking around me at work, home and play and photographing what my interpretation of the word is. I also love joining in on Instagram and adding the pretty filters which always make my photos look much more interesting I think!
 
 
You can find my January Days 1 - 16 here and these are my final round of up days 17 - 31 ...
 
 17. Tiny - Petite dessert I made at home
18. Happy Place - My home is my happy place because of who I share it with
19. Breakfast - Champagne breakfast at Crown Perth
20. To Do List - Laundry renovation to do list
  
21. Blue - Roses on my skirt
22. Nice - It's always nice to have flowers in the house
23. Bedtime - My bedtime just before midnight
24. Your Space - View from my office window
 
 25. A Taste of Summer - Mango and Lime Granita I made find the recipe here
26. Fun Stuff - Making cocktails on Australia Day
 
27. Something I bought - These gorgeous leather travel wallets
 
 28. Dinner - Getting treated to dinner with my Book Club girls because
I picked the favourite book last year
29. Window - Favourite window in the house is the one we put in when we renovated the bathroom as it has a view of the tree tops in the back yard
30. Best invention ever - Books! I love to get lost in the pictures and words
31. Polka Dot - My sexy but sweet heart polka dot PJs ...
and now the world has seen my PJs!
 
You can read all about how to play Photo A Day on the FMS blog here.

Did anyone else join in with this month's FMS January Photo A Day?
 
If not, why not play along with February's Photo A Day ... You can find the February photos prompts here.
 
 
[First image FMS, all other images my own]
 
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

eDesign Mood Board - Jarrah Jungle Laundry

I've been getting my creative dose on Polyvore again and have designed a mood board for the Laundry Room renovation.
 
In this design I've kept the colours fairly neutral with white cabinetry, wooden bench and greens from the art and plants which will hopefully make the space appear fresh and bright.
 
 
Jarrah Jungle Laundry Room
 
 

Here is a summary of my design:

1. White overhead cupboard - Attached to the wall above the bench for storage of all the usual laundry cleaning products, bottles, sprays, etc.

2. A small corner shelving unit - For the side of the overhead cupboard to display the frequently used items (see 3 and 4). As this will be close to the window open shelves will be less evasive and not block the window like a full cupboard will.

3. A terrarium or house plant - Sitting right in front of the window will be the perfect place for a house plant and hopefully with all the sunlight it won't succumb to my black thumb ways!

4. Glass storage jars - I'd like some some glass jars to fill with laundry detergent, Lexi's doggy treats, that kind of thing. They'll look nice displayed on the corner shelving unit.

5. Laundry Pin Up Art - Following my love for pin up art if I can find a cheeky laundry style art for this room that would be perfect. Or a metal vintage sign would look good too.

6. Tiles - I had in mind using grey tiles for the floor and white tiles for the kick tile. For the splash back we were going to use our leftover white tiles from the bathroom renovation, but I really like the look of feature mosaic tiles like these green/blue tiles.

7. Laundry work top - I want the work top to be one long piece from wall to door frame with a sink cut out. I'm thinking a dark wood look might play in nicely with our jarrah floorboards. Oh what a treat to have a bench in this room I won't have to sort clothes all over the floor!

8. Laundry mixer tap - A large modern mixer tap that can maneuver around and fill up buckets and so forth.

9. Laundry sink - A round silver sink built into the bench so it's seamless and neat. Gone are the days of the massive laundry trough, I don't think there's a need for a huge trough.

You can see my mood board on Polyvore here with links of where you can buy the items.

What do you think of my Laundry Room design?


[Image via Polyvore designed by Jarrah Jungle]
 
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Recipe: Mango and Lime Granita

My favourite dish from the Australian inspired menu that I made for the My Kitchen Rules dinner party last weekend was this Mango and Lime Granita.

Not only was it a great way to use up the mangoes in season right now but it was a really refreshing palette cleanser to have between the entree and main course and it has also been a nice dish to have in the freezer for dessert or a refreshing treat.
 
This recipe made about 8 cups of granita and because I served mine in my Moroccan shot glasses I will probably get 3 times that amount from the mix.


Mango and Lime Granita
Makes 8 cups
Fine Cooking original recipe here (below is my amended version)

4 mangoes
2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbs fresh lime juice

1. Cut the mango away from the pit and coarsely chop into cubes, leaving the skin behind. You need about 2 cups of mango (I needed 4 mangoes to get enough).

2. Add to a food processor the mango and lime zest and process until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as you go to make sure you don't miss any lumpy bits.

3. Pour the puree into a medium bowl and add the water, sugar and lime juice. Stir with a large spoon or whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved.

4. Pour the puree into a 9 inch square shallow baking pan. This size pan works best because it provides a large surface area which speeds up the freezing process. To further speed up freezing use a metal pan.


5. Put the pan in the freezer and stir every 30 minutes with a large fork to break up the crystals. Make sure you scrape the ice crystals off the sides and into the middle of the pan. You need to do this until the mixture is too frozen to stir - mine took about 4 hours, scraping every 30 minutes, but some will take less if your freezer is colder.

6. When it is too frozen to stir, cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

7. When ready to serve the granita, chill some glasses or bowls so they are nice and cold.

8. Remove from freezer and place a large fork at the top of the dish and pull it towards you in rows, moving from left to right and rotating the pan as well.

9. Scrape up the shaved ice and fill chilled glasses or bowls.


This is a perfect Summer dessert, palette cleanser, or treat to have in your freezer!


[All images my own]
 
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Australia Day Long Weekend Plans

The first Long Weekend of the year is also my absolute favourite - Australia Day!
 
It's the one weekend of the year when hanging out with friends and family, having a BBQ and a few refreshing drinks is pretty much mandatory for all Australian's!
 
My Australia Day long weekend this year will be spent with a bit of laundry renovation tile sourcing, Freedom furniture shopping, salad making, BBQ with friends, pool party, Triple J Hottest 100 listening, finished with some couch relaxing, foxtel remote holding and a few glasses pffft ok bottles of vino!
 
 
 
 
What are your plans for the Australia Day Long Weekend?
 
Check out my other Australia Day posts here:
 
 
[All images via Australia Day]
 
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Club Book Review: Campaign Ruby by Jessica Rudd

My Tuesday Girls Book Club had December off from reading and instead we got together for some Christmas festivities and had our Christmas Party at Crown Casino which was a lot of fun!
 
We are now back into the Book Club reading and it was my turn to pick the January book .... after winning last year's book choice for Before I Go To Sleep I wanted to pick another great read.

This month's book chosen by yours truly was Campaign Ruby by Jessica Rudd.
 
 
This is written by a young Australian author who also happens to be the daughter of our previous Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It was probably quite controversial when this book was published at the height of the political fireworks we were faced with all across Australia when our Parliament shifted with Kevin Rudd going out and our first female Prime Minister going in.

Above all when reading this book I found it was important to see Jessica the author as her own person and writer and not a parliamentarian's daughter. She really does stand out on her own with her writing skills and I found her to be very talented, engaging and above all funny!
 
Campaign Ruby was like a Bridget Jones story meets politics with the story beginning in England with the main character Roo being fired from her job at a bank, so she puts herself on a plane to Australia and somehow ends up on a political trail travelling around Australia.

This book was funny the whole way through and whilst I know nothing about politics or have any interest in it, this book had me curious as to the way that politics and journalism works and I found it really interesting. Reading about a topic you know nothing about can be boring but I wasn't bored in the least because the writing style, humour and characters kept me engaged the whole way through.

I really liked Roo and the other characters in the story and I liked the references to the Australian towns visited and the Aussie slang used here and there.

I would recommend this book to Bridget Jones fans, anyone with an interest in the light side of politics, or anyone that likes chick lit humour!
 
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

 
[Image via Dymocks]
 
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Our Rescue Dog Lexi - 1 Year On

It has been a whole year since we rescued Lexi our Rottie X Staffie from the RSPCA and now when I look into her cute little brown eyes and pretty little face I wonder how I ever lived without her before!

 
Lexi has become such a big part of me and Mr P's home. The first thing I do when I come home is race out the back and give her lots of pats and affection. Then I assess the days damage of what holes she has dug, things she has chewed, or mischief she has made! Don't let that sweet face fool you ... she's still a digger and a chewer and a backyard destroyer but I put that down to her being bored as well as still pretty young, I think she's about 2.5 years old now so hoping she will grow out of that soon.

We had our big blow up pool for only 2 weeks and she got her teeth into the pool cover which was an expensive $40 chew toy! Next she's been getting her teeth into the plastic valves on the side of the pool and it's only a matter of time before there's a Noah's Arc flood in the backyard which is going to be an even more expensive chew toy!

 
Lexi still gets really scared around big groups of people like when we hosted Christmas Day she spent most of the time hiding inside when we were all outside. I guess 13 kids trying to pat you can be a little overwhelming. I finally managed to lure her outside with the worlds biggest lamb bone for her to devour!

Lexi brings out the caring side in everyone, even people that aren't really into animals or big dog lovers start cooing as soon as they see her and try to reassure her and make her feel safe. She seems to have that kind of effect on people.

It saddens me every time I see how timid she is that it's because a human made her that way.


Taking Lexi for a run has been good for her to burn off some of that energy and good for us getting some exercise. I'd love to take her out more, maybe even go on a camping trip or weekend away somewhere that's dog friendly. That is sounding very domesticated I know but it would be a lot of fun!
 
She is growing in confidence the more contact she has with people and other dogs. She's had a few doggy dates and we've become dog sitters lately with a few of our friends and family's dogs coming to stay ... how cute is Lexi (if a little begrudgingly) sharing her bed with her big sister Bella!

 
I'll admit it, coming from someone who doesn't have kids that being a fur Mum to this little one isn't so bad. I actually do feel like I'm a Mum sometimes - feeding her, putting her to bed, playing with her, telling her off when she's naughty, it's like training to be a Mum!

Finally, a note to the people who abuse animals like Lexi and turned her into such a timid scared dog I don't know how you sleep at night. She is such a beautiful sweet thing and you are an ugly disgusting monster. I hope karma catches up with you. Sorry rant over!

You can see my letters to Lexi 3 months on and 6 months on here.
 
Lexi a whole year on - we love you long time Lexi!
 
[All images my own]
 
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Our 1960s Laundry/Toilet - Before

I'm so happy that our Laundry/Toilet Renovation is the first project we are tackling on our 2014 renovation hit list.

The Laundry and Toilet are the last rooms to do within the house and it has been left until last as it is currently the only way out to the backyard and garage so we didn't need to worry about it getting a little messy when we were renovating the other rooms ... dirt, rubble, and all sorts have been carried through this laundry yes renovating can get very messy!

Let's get started with the most important step of renovating sharing the warts and all before photos of our 1960's laundry and toilet .... before we turn the fugly into lovely!


The plumbing is really old pipe and it all needs to be dug up and replaced because it doesn't work very well and gets blocked easily ... you should see the sorts of things we've found down here!

We'll replace the toilet with a wall mount model so it sits up against the wall to save on space.

We will probably change the old glass in the window as it has a gap for airflow but the downside is it lets dust and bugs in and since we had a fan/light combination installed we don't need this old style of glass/fly screen venting anymore.
 
 
 
Washing your hands is not a pleasant experience because this is done in the laundry trough which has taps connected to the washing machine which confuses everyone so when you think you're turning the tap on to wash your hands you're really turning on the washing machine taps and visa versa!

A hand basin in the toilet will solve this issue but it is a really tight space so we need to find an itty bitty sink and vanity unit that will fit. It will be worth the trouble though to turn the toilet into a functional powder room which will be a huge improvement.



On the laundry wall there are old pipes running down which need to be relocated.

As for the laundry area there is no bench with just enough room for the washing machine and laundry trough. We are going to install a bench all the way across from the wall to the doorway, put in a built in sink and swap our top loader washing machine for a front loader so that it sits under the bench.

There is no storage cupboards overhead or underneath just a scary rusty laundry cabinet so that will be replaced with a base cabinet for the sink and overhead cupboards across the whole wall. I'm a bit unsure about the upper head cabinets blocking the window so we might have open shelves at the end here, we haven't decided yet.

 
 
 
 
The floor tiles are tiny yellow mosaics and no matter how much I scrub them they look old and dirty and are just too busy for such a small area. We are going to rip all the floor tiles up and lay nice big 300x600 rectangle tiles similar to our bathroom floor tiles in a grey colour.
 
We are going to use our leftover white tiles from the bathroom walls for the splash back in the laundry and toilet and also for the kick tile, apparently you can cut the tiles in half so they will be the same length as the floor tile but thinner so the grout lines will line up nicely. I'd like to use our leftover metallic mosaic tiles as a feature in the splash back if there is enough of them.
 
We need to order a few more white tiles for the job and also find floor tiles we like ... we have been out tile shopping and know we want a grey and white colour combination but we haven't made any decisions or purchases yet.
 
 
 

 
 
The beige walls have got to go and will be painted in a light grey Mountain Peak that we've painted the entire house in.

There is a built in storage cupboard in this room as well that we use for our appliances and overflow of kitchenware that doesn't fit in the newly renovated kitchen. This cupboard needs a bit of freshening up and maybe a light installed so you can see what you're looking for!

I want to do something interesting to the toilet walls by painting stripes or hanging wallpaper.

Then the fun part of decorating and finding art or some crafty DIY projects to add some personality to the room like my string of inspiration cards hanging in there at the moment.


So this project is underway, we have our to do list and are currently researching different products to use and sketching out our design and ideas for the room.

Oh to have a loo that actually flushes properly ..... I'll really be living the dream then!

For updates as I go on the Laundry/Toilet Renovation follow me on Facebook or Instagram and you'll never miss a thing!

Have you tackled a Laundry renovation before?
Have you converted your toilet into a powder room?
 
 
[All images my own]
 
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Market Basket Co - And The Winner Is ...

Thanks to everyone who entered The Market Basket Co Moroccan glasses giveaway some of your comments had me laughing out loud on how you survived the aftermath of Christmas Day ... I'll definately be referring back to those for next year's festivities!
 
Welcome to my new readers .... I hope you'll visit again soon as I'll be sharing my hostess with the mostess dinner party recap and our latest renovating plans. I have also updated my contact icons over on my sidebar so there's a bunch of ways to stay in touch and keep up to date with the Jarrah Jungle happenings!
 
 
Thanks to Rafflecopter this giveaway was easy to pick a winner .... And the winner is Jasmine congratulations!
 
I will be in touch to arrange for your set of The Market Basket Co coffee/shot glasses to be sent to you.
 
For readers that missed out you can check out The Market Basket Co website which has some great online discounts on offer.
 
Thanks again for entering everyone!
 
 
[All images my own]
 
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Friday, January 17, 2014

Photo A Day: January Days 1 - 16

Back in October last year I joined in with Fat Mum Slim for the first time and took a photo every day of the month following the daily word prompts. Well I've decided to play along again, this time with FMS January Photo A Day challenge and have been sharing my photos each day on my Facebook and Instagram ... and I'm doing a round up of them here.
 
Speaking of Instagram I don't know why I didn't join sooner it's so much fun to edit and use the filters on photos. Not to mention the inspiration I get from looking at everyone's photos, there's so many talented people out there and Instagram is a great way to find them!
 
 
Here are my first 16 photos from the January word prompts above ...
 
1. My favourite lazy weekend lunch at home eggs benedict
2. A trip to the Ikea sales
3. Driving through my home town
4. My word to live by is LIVE
 
5. Found the hooks to hang my bird cage
6. Happens everyday my man brings me coffee in bed

 
7. Upside Down baby you turn me Inside Out (magazine!)
8. My lucky number is 16 the day after my Birthday
 
9. The natural beauty of the botanic gardens in Wellington, New Zealand
10. The man made limestone and brick walls of our newly built courtyard
11. Looking down at my freshly painted toe nails and new sandals
12. My Sunday afternoon chocolate fix looks rather colourful
 
13. My lovable fur baby Lexi can always make me smile
14. 3 Things that are motivating me to walk to/from work each day
15. Black + White my new Ikea star lamp
16. This DIY canvass I made for the bedroom with it's sweet quote
"the sun couldn't rise without you, darling"
 
You can read all about how to play Photo A Day on FMS blog here.
 
Is anyone else playing along with FMS January Photo A Day?
 
Let me know so I can follow along with you!
 
 
[1st image FMS, All other images my own]
 
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Kitchen Rules - Australian Inspired Menu

I'm hosting a My Kitchen Rules dinner party this weekend which is pretty timely as the new season of MKR starts at the end of this month! There will be 6 of us all up and this is the 3rd and final round so the pressure is on to cook up a storm so a winner can be chosen for the kitchen that rules!

Round 1 was an Italian Fantastico with delicious home made pasta
Round 2 was a French Sensation with baked brie that I still rave about now
Round 3 in our MKR is going to be Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!

Because none of our guests were born in Australia we thought it would be fun to plan an Australian inspired menu ... it also means if we get it wrong they'll never know the difference! Our guests are either vegetarian, pregnant or have food allergies so there's a few no go food ingredients which made picking dishes a bit tricky but I think we've come up with a pretty impressive menu of delicious Australian cuisine.
 
Starter
Bush tucker cheese board with Australian cheeses, olives, quince, outback mixed nuts,
relish and frozen grapes
Served with aperitif icy cold cider, beer or sparkling wine
 
 
Entree
Kangaroo sausage and tomato relish
Served with Australian white wine semillon sauvignon blanc and red wines Pinot Noir or Shiraz
 
 
Palette Cleanser
 
 
 
Main
BBQ Weber roast chicken with stuffing and gravy
Served with Australian white wine semillon sauvignon blanc and red wines Pinot Noir or Shiraz
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dessert
Mini pavlovas with passion fruit cream, strawberry's, blueberry's and a cherry on top
Served with Australian port or sherry

 
 
Last night we had a bit of a taste test kitchen and made some of the dishes just to check they were delicious ....  it was my first try of Kanga Bangas too and they were actually pretty tasty.
 
What do you think of my Australian themed menu plan?
 
 
[Images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
 
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our 2014 Renovation and Projects Hit List

Our house renovations and projects have been ticked off the massive to do list as the years go by and in the four and a half years we've lived here we've completed almost all the inside of the house and also made huge changes to the exterior. You can check out our house renovations to date in the house tour here.
 
So what's on the 2014 renovations / projects / DIY / to do list ?
 
As well as our other 2014 goals of date nights, less TV, more pet time, exercise and my 2014 word motivate .... would I sound too optimistic if I said we also want to completely finish inside AND outside the house this year?
 
Maybe, but that is exactly what we plan to do !


1. Laundry and Toilet/Powder Room Renovation

Our first renovation for 2014 is the laundry and toilet which is the only remaining room left inside the house to renovate - it's a total gut and redesign with everything being removed including the old plumbing, tiles, etc. We also want to install a basin and vanity unit in the toilet to convert it into a powder room so you don't need to wash your hands in the laundry sink which is what we have to do now and is total pain!

We have already started this renovation, have the project to do list stuck on the fridge to remind us of what we need to do, we've been out shopping and getting ideas for the cabinetry, basins, tiles etc and have started an inspiration file with magazine clippings, brochures and ideas of how we want to design this room ... this inspiration file travels with me on our shopping expeditions so I can keep everything together and stay organised. 


2. Finish inside of the house - doors, painting, etc
 
We have a few finishing touches to do to the inside of the house to get it looking good - replace all the internal doors and handles, touch up on some painting, that kind of thing. Then we can say the house is 100% renovated and finished on the inside and we can turn our attention to the outside!

We are currently pricing up doors and will touch up the paint most likely when we are painting the laundry as it will be the last time we need to get our paint brushes wet inside ... It'll almost be bitter sweet knowing there will be no more painting left to do inside the house ... almost!


3. Front of the house - Courtyard and Landscaping
 
Once the inside of the house is done and it will also mean the harsh Summer weather has passed we can finish off the front of the house which will be much better to garden in cooler temperatures. This includes finishing the courtyard fence with DIY slats and landscaping the courtyard area and our front verge.

We have lots of ideas for the types for paving, grass and plantings and it's just working out the final design, buying everything and laying and planting it .... I feel a busy bee weekend coming on for the planting stage with a BBQ and beers afterwards offered as bribes!

 
4. Backyard - Remove Granny Flat and Patio
5. Build a deck
6. Render back of house
 
Then there's the backyard, we want to build a deck leading of the dining room where we put in French Doors and once that is done we can render the back of house (as we rendered the front). The render will cover the patches made by the French Doors and also the back of the garage extension so you won't be able to see the changes we've made to the house and it will look like it was always built that way.

Unfortunately we can't build the deck until we knock down the Granny Flat and the Patio as the deck will protrude into that space. But before we start any demolition we need to work out the subdivision area and determine how big the backyard of this house is going to be so we then know how far out to build the deck. Once that is determined we can start to progress with these projects which will totally transform the backyard and add so much to our outdoor entertaining .... I can't wait to have BBQs and dinner parties on the new deck!

 
7. Start subdivision process

One of the main reasons we bought this house was that it was a retain and build and we searched for months to find a livable home that needed some serious renovations so we could turn it into a great home that someone would want to live in for many years to come. This means we'll need to have the block essentially chopped in half so the front house will be an A and the back block will be a B.

Once we have started the subdivision process and the land has been cleared, retained and subdivided we have another big decision to make - to build a house on the block or to sell the block as is for someone else to build their dream home on. While I would love to have the practice of building a house I think it would be too hard to build with my head for selling and I'd build with my heart and then not want to sell it! I'm leaning towards selling the block as is, but I will probably change my mind another 20 times before the year is up!

 
So that is the renovation hit list with the 7 projects we want to tackle this year ... our weekends will be filled with lots of planning and demolition hopefully followed by some relaxing evenings admiring the completion of all our hard work!

We are starting on projects sooner rather than later so there's not too much of a rush towards the end of the year. We will have to see how things go .... wish me luck!
 
What are your home goals for 2014?
 
[All images my own]
 
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