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Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review and Preview: Glitter And Glue by Kelly Corrigan

This is a book review and preview of the book Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan that was recently published in February 2014.

This is a memoir written by Kelly, who is a New York Times best seller and lives in San Francisco. This is Kelly's third book.

Kelly's memoir is mostly about the bond between herself and her mother. The title of the book is based on her father being the glitter and her mother being the glue ... both holding the family unit together in their own way. I thought that was a really nice sentiment.

The book is broken into 2 parts, the first of childhood and teenage years and when Kelly travels to Australia seeking adventure on a round the world trip. Kelly ends up close to a family who has lost their mother, and in turn it makes her think of her own family relationships back home in America. I really enjoyed the youthfullness in this part of the book and the situations Kelly found herself in I could really relate to.

The second part of the book is Kelly's life as an adult and on being a mother herself. The book becomes a little more serious and grown up talking about Kelly's husband and kids and the person that she has become all these years later.

This was a fairly short book and very easy to read. The writing was simple and easy to follow with a touch of humour thrown in. I really enjoyed the core of the book which was the mother and daughter perspective and insights.

I recommend this book to mothers and daughters, to see the other side, because maybe one day you will be on that side as well!
I give this book 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

Glitter + Glue can be purchased from Random House here

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

Disclosure: Random House and NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their product. As part of this promotion I was given this eBook published by Ballentine Books to review. I have not received any payment or compensation for this review. I have not been told what to say about this product, I am free to form my own opinion and share them in my own words. All opinions are my own.

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[Image via Random House]
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recipe Page - Eat + Drink + Entertain

I have been busy updating my Recipe page which you can find on the Recipes tab at the top of my blog.

This is where you'll find all my favourite recipes to eat and drink as well as some entertaining ideas, inspiration and menu plans.
I carried a watermelon .... Yes I'm a Dirty Dancing fan!

EAT - If you are looking for some new and tasty recipes to try then my man soup is sure to be a favourite once the cooler weather comes in. Or my best ever bolognese sauce in the slow cooker not only saved the day when I was renovating the kitchen and cooking in the garage, but it's also the most popular recipe on the blog.
DRINK - If you're after something a little bit stronger then see my favourite drink recipes for cocktails and shots - my raspberry vodka and lime rum vodka shots is one of the most viewed recipes on the blog. Guess I'm not the only one who likes these ridiculously easy and extremely tasty party treats!
ENTERTAIN - I also list my favourite parties and entertaining that Mr P and I have hosted over the years, everything from dinner parties to parties on wheels aka tour de fridge style. With entertaining, table setting  ideas and inspiration and menu plans and recipes.

To see my Recipes page with Eat, Drink and Entertain ideas head on over here

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[All images my own]

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Powder Room Renovation - Basin and Vanity

This weekend just gone Mr P and I finally had a Saturday free to hit the shops for supplies for our laundry and powder room renovation. Our mission was to find a basin and a toilet and that was all, just 2 things but 2 very important things and guess what? Success! We found a basin so I guess 1 out of 2 isn't bad.

We've learnt from our other big renovations like the bathroom and the kitchen that it's best to focus on buying 1 or 2 big items at a time, otherwise you just get too overwhelmed looking every which way at taps, cabinets, bench tops, sinks, comparing the pros and cons and prices of each product is all a bit too much so you end up coming home empty handed and grumpy from all the confusion!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Club Book Review: Capital by John Lanchester

The book choice for the month of March at Book Club was Capital by John Lanchester

This was a mammoth book of almost 600 pages to get finished in the month .... but I managed to read it by cramming a bit more reading in, to finish it in time for my Book Club meet up this week.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Party Planning - Baby Shower Ideas

Anyone who knows me and reads this blog will know that I love party planning!
You can check out my previous parties here .... My Kitchen Rules Australian Dinner Party, Spanish Tapas Party, Indian Dinner Party and Tour De Fridge to name a few!
My latest party planning has been a bit of a challenge because I'm planning a Baby Shower!

I'm not a Mum nor am I a cutsie wootsie kind of girl either BUT I'm definitely a party planner and have surprised myself on how much fun it's been organising this Baby Shower.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Courtyard Project - Wood Vs Metal Fence Slats

After all the excitement of our limestone courtyard being built and the new driveway being laid late last year things have been pretty quiet out the front here on the home improvements side of things ..... we put the tools down, went on a family cruise holiday, Christmas festivities and had ourselves some Summer time fun instead!

But now that the seasons have changed and we're into the cooler months of Autumn there's no more slacking off excuses left and it's time to get our butts into gear and get outside and finish off the front of the house.

Before we can even think about the landscaping and gardening out here, the next job is to install infills/slats between the bricks of the limestone fence. This will enclose the courtyard and bring us privacy so we can enjoy this area as an added alfresco. We'll also need to add a new mailbox and hang a gate between the garage and courtyard pillars for added security to the front door.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

How To Start A Book Club

I've been part of a Book Club The Tuesday Girls for almost 3 years now and writing my book reviews here on the blog every month. I really love being part of a Book Club, it's so good to talk over the latest great read (or not so great!) with like minded people.

Almost from the beginning, my Book Club girls all become really great friends and I think the main reason we all connected so quickly and formed such strong friendships over the years is because we have a common interest and passion ...  the love of reading and books! Well ok and good food, wine and conversation but that all came afterwards!
Book Review
If you love to read and pick up a different book each month then I really recommend you join a Book Club. Or better yet if you can't find one that suits you then why not start your own Book Club?

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jarrah Jungle House Tour

I have updated my House Tour page on the blog to show all the progress we have made to our 1960s home over the past 4.5 years to bring it up to date in this modern day! Come and take a looksy as Mr P and I work our way through our first home renovations and DIY adventures.

There's now lots of juicy before and after photos and links to previous posts on all the renovation projects we've been up to around the house. From the kitchen and dining room renovations we finished last year as well as an update on the other projects happening both inside and outside the house, like the laundry/powder room renovation and driveway and courtyard projects currently underway.
Head on over here to get your ugly before and pretty after fix!

I love a good before and after! Don't you?
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[Image my own]

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kidspot Voices Of 2014 - Nominee

It was just a normal day yesterday, I woke up and hit snooze on my alarm a dozen times, fed my fur baby Lexi, before running up the street like a crazy woman to catch my buss and headed into the office to work for the day. But then everything changed when an email popped into my mail box that grabbed my attention ....
Congratulations you are a voice of influence

My blog has been nominated for Kidspot Voices Of 2014 which means that my readers love what I'm doing here and put me forward for this award.
I am so surprised and flattered and feel truly honoured to have my blog listed along side some of the most influential and admirable bloggers in Australia. I feel like the cool kid at school or the one that gets picked first for team sports. Wow I really am so chuffed to be recognised (especially as I suck at sports)!
It's such a privilege to be nominated, although I'm not sure I will get very far amongst all the amazing bloggers and only 90 blogs across 3 categories will be shortlisted by the judges. It's still a great feeling to be recognised and the prizes are incredible, travel, a car, but most appealing to me is there are contracts with Kidspot on offer to write for them .... now that would be a dream come true!

So if I don't say it enough, then I want to take this opportunity to say thank you so very much you guys, my awesome readers for coming back, reading my blog posts, commenting and sharing it means so much to know you are there and take an interest. Your encouragement and loyalty over the past 4 years I've been blogging makes me even more determined to keep on going. I have such a passion and enthusiasm to write about my home and lifestyle .... thanks for coming on this journey with me!
Thanks again everyone, you're really truly awesome! 
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[Image 1 via Kidspot Image 2 my own]

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Clearing The Backyard And Reno Rubble

We have a pretty big backyard for a suburban home, but we've only landscaped half of it .... the area that runs off from the patio area.

The other side of the backyard has been sectioned off with a brush wood fence that runs the length of the patio so that we don't have to look at the big block of land and wonder what the heck we are going to do with it!

We did a bit of backyard pimping late last year and replaced this tatty old fence with shade cloth.
Now the time has come to also clear the block of land which has become a dumping ground for all the rubble from our house renovations.

We have had everything including the kitchen sink dragged out of the house and dumped here. From our bathroom renovation, kitchen renovation, the old roof tiles when we did the roof restoration, you name it this was the place to dump it!

We have had our fair share of skip bins as well and disposed of as much rubble as we could over the years but these big chunks of bricks and leftover limestone blocks from the front courtyard were just too heavy for us to lift ourselves .... and as you can see Lexi the site manager isn't really much help when it comes to manual labour!

So we hired a bob cat driver and truck for about an hour, he came and picked up the rest of the rubble and dumped it in his truck to take away to be disposed of.
We are lucky enough to have space along side our house that is wide enough for trucks to get down, as this will eventually become the driveway for the house at the back when we subdivide the land and build.
Come on down mate and take our rubble away!


It took less than an hour for them to collect all the bricks, tiles and rubble and dump it into their truck. He levelled the ground out as best he could and then off he went covered in sand and dust!

Now we have a clean slate and can start to think about what we are going to do with the block .... the plan is to subdivide and either sell the land for someone to build their dream house on or we will have a go at building a house ourselves.

There's lots of big decisions to be made this year and maybe even an end to the Jarrah Jungle renovations .... yes that's right we might actually finish renovating this year and finally throw that house warming party!

Linking up with:
The Dedicated House
Home Coming - The DIYers

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[All images my own]

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review and Preview: The Heart Radical by Boyd Anderson

Random House Australia have invited me to take part in the blog tour for the newly published book The Heart Radical by Boyd Anderson that hit book stores in February 2014.
This is a story told from the 1950s when the Japanese invaded Malaya and the issues faced with the Government, jungle guerrillas, rebels and communists. The heart of the story is based around a court case and the events leading up to it.

The story is told through the voice of a lawyer Su-Lin and professor Paris who knew each other as children because Su-Lin's father was the lawyer who helped Paris' mother, a Dr, in a court case.

Su-Lin and Paris meet up some 50 years later now grown up with a lifetime of memories and talk you through their lives as youngsters with their families which all lead up to the centre of the story - the court case. The story goes into their lives beyond that time too, now some 40 years later and how they have grown up and into the people they are today.

There was insight into the Chinese culture and beliefs that I found really interesting, in fact my favourite part of the book was the Chinese belief telling young girls that for every grain of rice they left in their bowls would be a dimple in their husbands face! That really made me smile :-)

Paris' mother the Dr and her stories I enjoyed as well as the court case when things started to all come together and make sense and really get interesting.

Unfortunately large parts of the story just didn't engage me and I struggled to stay interested. The story chopped and changed from Su-Lin's view as a kid and to her views on life now as an adult and I found this difficult to really get into the story. Paris was not a very forward character and I didn't warm to him.

I recommend this book to those interested in the Chinese culture and the 1950s war time in Malaya.
I give this book 2 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
The Heart Radical can be purchased from Random House Australia here.
Sharing my book review on Random House here and Good Reads here.
Disclosure: Random House and NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their product. As part of this promotion I was given this eBook published by Bantam Australia to review. I have not received any payment or compensation for this review. I have not been told what to say about this product, I am free to form my own opinion and share them in my own words. All opinions are my own.

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[Image via RandomHouse]

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Aztec Bedroom Inspiration

I've been helping a friend re-design her bedroom with an aztec theme. Aztec designs are bright and bold colours, symmetric and geometric shapes and repeated patterns. Because these designs are bold, a little goes a long way!

I have lots of ideas of how to pull the aztec themed bedroom together and my favourite part is helping with the shopping list and finding the pieces to finish off the room on a budget and I'm sure I'll find some great bargains along the way too ... because that's me a bargain queen!
Here are some inspirational images helping with the design and shopping list ....
What do you think of aztec?
Do you like patterns in the bedroom?
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[Images via my Pinterest here1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Recipes: Home Made Juice

I'm jumping on the healthy home made juice band wagon and have found some delicious home made juice recipes to try.
I remember my parents had an electric juicer that we'd pull out the cupboard on the weekend and make a few different types of juices .... no doubt in an attempt to hide fruit and vegetables when we were kids (which it did!). But as with many appliances it was put in the cupboard to collect dust and crumbs over the years until I remembered it last weekend and raided my parents cupboard and took it home with me!
Here are some recipes I have flagged to try out ...


Most of these juice recipes look pretty easy to make - buy the ingredients, wash and chop, put into juicer, drink delicious healthy juices and turn into a fabulously healthy person!
Sounds easy enough, let's hope it is!

Do you make juices at home?

What's your favourite combination?

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[Images via Taste 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Renovating - 5 Tips For Planning And Designing

With any project you tackle, the most important part is the planning stage. Here at the Jarrah Jungle renovations Mr P and I have been known to spend months planning (also known as procrastinating!) the design of a renovation or project to make sure we get exactly what we want.
I did a detailed step by step guide last year on planning a kitchen renovation and as we are now tackling the laundry/toilet it's reminded me just how important the planning stages are.

So with that in mind here are my 5 tips for the plan and design of a renovation project:-
1. Start an inspiration folder
For our latest project the laundry/toilet renovation we have been planning this for years and I've got an inspirational folder bursting with all my ideas and things I love - product brochures, print outs of products found online, magazines flagged and pages torn out, samples of colour charts, sketches (sometimes mistaken for kids drawings!) ... all of these things help with planning the design of the room.
Once you have an idea of the things that you like and the look and feel you are going for, you can work out your design for the room.
2. Measure the room to work out what you can realistically do with the space
We have measured the laundry room a zillion times ... and then a few more times just to be sure! Never underestimate a couple of centimetres because that could be all that stands between a standard cupboard or a fancy pull out laundry chute. Likewise it could mean ending up with cabinetry that doesn't fit!

Getting the most of your room and being smart about storage and space is key to a good renovation. Being practical and functional often comes down to playing around with different layouts and being open to different storage ideas ... think outside the box!
3. Draw up the design so you can visualise what you want
Of course the design can (and will!) change but it will give you a pretty good starting point of the layout, cabinets, appliances, power, lights, plumbing etc. It doesn't have to be fancy but draw to scale if you can. If you're a bit more tech savvy, there's online drawing tools you can use and a few companies have their own such as Ikea and Bunnings.

Putting your design onto paper also shows you whether you will work around existing plumbing/electrics to keep costs down, or if you are going with a new layout/design then you'll need to budget for this. Remember: The key to a good design is for it to be practical, functional and look great!
4. Go shopping! 
This is meant to be the fun part! Shop around and get quotes in stores and also get companies out to quote for you. Everyone has their own ideas and suggestions after all this is what they do for a job so it's great to get inspiration from the professionals to help build on your design and get the most out of your renovation.

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices out there but if you've followed steps 1-3 you'll have a pretty good idea of what you want so you're less likely to go shopping for a traditional wood look laundry and come home with a sleek modern laundry instead!
5. Make decisions and finalise your design
After your shopping expedition, you should be able to improve your initial design, perhaps with a few changes depending on new products or features on offer. This all helps to concrete your design so you're confident in what you have planned.

Once you've had time to mull over all your options, do some research and read reviews on the products and then finalise your design. You can then take steps to put your design into action .... and turn your dream design into reality!  
Bonus tip:
I don't think you can really settle on a design until you've lived in a space for a while, to know what you want to change and improve on, what you love about it and what drives you crazy. It needs to be practical to suit you and your family and it needs to be functional as to how you live in your home.

Once you have a good feel for that and for some it could take months .... then you are ready to plan and design your dream home renovation!
Do you have any tips for the perfect renovation plan and design?
[All images via my Laundry Board on Pinterest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Happy Long Weekend

This long weekend is the last one for the Summer .... so us Aussies better make the most of it!

We are helping out friends with gardening, house hunting and nursery planning ... it will be a busy one!
I promised I'd give Lexi more attention, starting with a trip to the river and a much needed wash is on the cards for my fur baby too :-)
Catching up with family at our favourite Chinese Restaurant will be a great end to the long weekend!
You can keep up with my happenings this weekend on my Facebook and Instagram
What are your plans for the long weekend?

[Images via my Pinterest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

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