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Friday, May 30, 2014

Another List .... Long Weekend Projects

We have a Foundation Day Long Weekend coming up this weekend, an extra day to relax at home, catch up with friends and family, and most importantly for us - tackle some of the home improvement projects we have started but not finished around the house and they are driving us nuts!
 
For anyone that follows me on Facebook or Instagram you will have seen snippets of these projects as I'm working on them ..... If you don't follow me why not? You're missing out on all the action live as it happens!
 
On the to do list ....
 
1. We hung all new internal doors over the Easter break last month - But we haven't yet put the new handles on or painted the doors. Getting stuck in the bathroom with no door handle and trying to pry open the door that's suctioned closed is not as fun as it sounds ... especially when you're home alone and nobody can help you get out!
 
2. We painted our window frames at the front of the house over the last few weekends - Thanks to Dulux who were kind enough to send me to some paint to try out and get inspired with their new colour range and combinations. We managed to paint on an undercoat and 1 top coat of colour but it's been raining and too wet to get a 2nd coat on. I'm dying to show off this painting project with you and also want to remove the painters tape before it sticks on so much it won't come off!
 
Photo: Painting our window frames undetered by seedy Sunday hangovers! Hope I like the charcoal better than the white .... Im still a little undecided!
Making progress outside .... painting the window frames
 
3. I sanded, sealed and stained our new front door last weekend - Yes a very proud moment for me to get my dainty hands into some DIY instead of Mr P doing all the dirty work all the time! It just needs a 2nd coat of stain and then I can show you the before and after which will knock your socks off!
 
4. We started to make a Rain Chain last weekend - We got a feature pot and chain and need to finish it off by connecting it to our soak wells so it drains properly. I'll also be sharing a How To Make a Rain Chain post which is such a cool project and something that more Australian homes should have if down pipes are ever an issue for your house, like they were for ours because of windows being in the way.
 
Picking a feature pot for our Rain Chain project
 
5. Make a decision on the colour of the courtyard slats - We have been procrastinating for months on making a decision and contacted more companies asking for more samples to try to match our garage door to the fence slats. We recently received some more samples and that's it ..... we will make a decision from the colour samples we have and place an order this weekend, no more excuses!
 
6. The laundry and toilet renovation - We have been planning this renovation for months now and have booked in the plumber for mid June ..... so we have just a few weeks left to buy the rest of our materials ready for the plumber to install - sink, taps and toilet and buy and put all the flat packs together. Hopefully we can do a shop this weekend and buy the items we've had our eye on but have been waiting and hoping they go on sale!
 
 
Jarrah Jungle Laundry Room
Laundry Mood Board
 
 
Having so many projects started and not finished doesn't have that complete sense of achievement -  until the job can be ticked off the to do list and we can sit back with a bottle of wine and celebrate that all our hard work is turning our house into a home we love ... we are getting there one project at a time!
 
What's on your Weekend to do list? 
 

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Recipe: Slow Cooker Sausage Stroganoff

It's that time of the year when the cooler Autumn weather sets in, it's wet and cold outside, and the slow cooker has emerged from the cupboard to make some warm and comforting dinners.

Last weekend I made Sausage Stroganoff which I've made a few times now and each time I'm surprised at how easy to make and delicious it is and it takes the humble sausage and turns it into the hero of the dish!
 

Slow Cooker: Sausage Stroganoff
Serves 4 
 
Ingredients
 
2 tbs olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, crushed
500g cup mushrooms, sliced
3 bacon rashers, chopped
6-8 thick sausages (beef or pork)
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs worchestershire sauce
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup sour cream
Fresh parsley, chopped
 
Method
 
1. Heat oil in slow cooker or large pan. Cook sausages until brown. Transfer to a plate.
 
 
2. Add bacon, onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes until bacon is golden. Add mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes until softened.
 
 
3. Stir in paprika, tomato paste, stock and worcestershire sauce. Bring to simmer. Cut each sausage diagonally into thick slices and add to pan.


4. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 2 hours until sauce thickens. Stir in sour cream and fresh parsley in last 10 minutes.


5. Serve the Sausage Stroganoff on top of steamed rice and garnish with extra fresh parsley. Enjoy!


I've made this dish both on the stove top as well as in my slow cooker, I have a sear and slow cooker which has the sear option, so if you are using a standard slow cooker you'll need to brown the ingredients first.
 
Have you made any tasty meals in the slow cooker lately?

Sharing with link parties:
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
This Silly Girls Life - Lovely Ladies Linky
Jam Hands - Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Courtyard Project - Furniture Inspiration

We have been working on our newly built courtyard out the front of the house over the last few weekends, fixing up the drainage, installed soak wells, and a rain chain (details on this project to come soon!).

We still don't have a final design for the way we want the courtyard to be laid out and set up but I have been drawing sketches and plans, tearing pages from magazines and pinning away on my Pinterest trying to get all our ideas together so we can settle on a final design.

I seem to work backwards and what I'm most excited about is the outdoor furniture and furnishings, here's some of my favourite picks so far ......







I definitely want lots of colour in the courtyard and a pair of Acapulco chairs is on my wish list too!

What piece of furniture is a must have in your outdoor space?



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Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review and Preview: Handmade Gatherings By Ashley English

This is a book review and preview of Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English that was published recently on 8 April 2014.

Ashley is the author of 5 other foodie books which shows her knowledge and passion for wholesome food. Ashley lives in a Western North Carolina mountain community where she's converting her land into a homestead and blogs about her adventures over at Small Measures.
 
 
This is a book about party planning, celebrating, connecting with friends and throwing pot luck style gatherings where everyone helps out and contributes to the party. It covers everything from the decor, crafts, entertainment and recipes. There are a stack of ideas in here and lots of pretty pictures to inspire you to plan for your next party!

The introduction covers things like how to organise and co-ordinate a gathering because it's not just the host who takes on everything in this style of party, it's shared around and everyone's skills and resources are pooled, so everyone helps out and has a great time.

The book then dives into the 4 different seasons and 16 different parties to plan for those seasons. With the author being American, the seasons and food in this book are quite different to Australia - we won't be having a frosty winter fete here! But most of the parties are still relateable and have given me some fun ideas, even if the food ideas and menu would be different.

For each of the 4 seasons there are a few different party themes to pick from and this is covered with how to set the scene, entertainment, and a suggested menu with recipes. It's all very practical and realistic with parties being family friendly with lots of ideas to get the kids, friends and family involved.
My favourite party is the Winter - Soups On party ..... I do love my soups and might have to throw my own soup party come Winter!

The only thing I found hard was because I didn't have a hard copy of the book, and because of the images I couldn't download it to my Kindle eReader, so I had to read it off the computer which I found a bit difficult. A hard copy version of this book would take pride of place on my coffee table!
 
I recommend this book to party planners this will be your bible and inspiration all throughout the year. It would also make a great housewarming gift!

I give this book 4 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


Handmade Gatherings can be purchased from Random House here

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

Disclosure: NetGalley and Random House partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their product. As part of this promotion I was given this eBook published by Random House, Roost 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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Friday, May 23, 2014

My 4 Year Blog-Versary

Tomorrow marks the 4th year I have been writing on my beloved blog .... So here's a cheers to you Jarrah Jungle!

Cheers to you guys, my awesome readers too for your support over all these years. You guys rock!
 
 
I absolutely love to blog. I have no idea what I would do with my time and ideas, if I couldn't type them out and share them with the world. That moment I hit publish makes me feel so relieved to share my story and happy that I can connect with other bloggers and readers alike.

I'm a Taurus, we're creative people who are also very practical. I spend my days as an office chick and my nights as a home obsessed blogger. This fulfils both sides of myself well, but it's still a dream for me to find a job that fulfils both my creative AND practical side.

I've bored my friends endlessly about my love of blogging and interior design and how I want to form a career from it somehow. No matter how much they encourage me I'm just not sure how to get my foot in the door and find the right career path to do this. I'm contemplating doing an Interior Design or Decorators Course, but for someone who has worked full time for 17 years it's hard to think about returning to study or how the bills will be paid without a solid income, but as they saying goes where there's a will there's a way!


To show how serious I am about my beloved blog, I registered it as a business name last year. This was a very proud moment for me and proved to myself how seriously I take this blog of mine. This is not just a hobby, it's something that I invest many hours of my days in and take real pride in my writing and what I share with my readers - yes that's you guys!

I was nominated for 2 amazing blog awards throughout the year too - Peoples Choice Nominee in Best Australian Blogs 2014 and Kidspot Voices of 2014. Having readers put my blog forward for these awards was such a proud moment and I thank you all so much for your support, whilst I didn't get into the top blogs, I still feel very honoured to have been listed amongst some of the most influential voices on the blogosphere.

    

As for the happenings around the Jarrah Jungle home in the last 12 months, we've been going gun-ho with the renovations as you'll see on my House Tour page. Finished the kitchen and dining room, built a limestone courtyard, new concrete driveway, to name just a few projects!
 
I've been doing a lot more book reviews over the last 9 months as well which I've been really loving returning to my book nerd ways and getting through a few books a month. I'm still doing my Book Club reviews and also reviewing books for Random House and NetGalley - they send me books to read and review before they are published which is pretty exciting! I feel like a mystery reader receiving the proof books with spelling mistakes and all, it's pretty awesome.

 
I've written hundreds of posts over the years and this is my 696th post I've published! Wowsers!!

My top 3 most popular posts from the last 12 months are: 
 
There's a bit of everything in those top 3 - A recipe and my love of entertaining, my interior design mood board for the Laundry renovation it's so good to see you guys like these to, and of course renovating the kitchen, the main topic of this blog is all about home improvement and I'd be worried if those posts weren't being viewed!
 
 
Of course I always save the best for last ..... I want to say a big thank you to you guys, my readers, for always popping by to say hi, to comment and offer advice when I need it, and just generally showing your support. You guys are awesome!
 
Who knows what the next year will bring but I'm positive that it's going to be fan-bloody-tastic!

You can find my previous blog-versary posts here: 1st, 2nd and 3rd
 

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Recipe: Boozy Butternut Snap Chocolate Tartlets

I've heard about these Butternut Snap Tarts being one of the easiest desserts to make and so I decided to give them a go when I had friends over for dinner recently and needed a last minute dessert idea.
 
I like desserts I can make ahead of time and this was one of those, it was easy to make with few ingredients and really tasty everyone enjoyed them. I added a touch of Baileys Irish Cream to mine which went well with the rich chocolate and a perfect end to the meal .... accompanied with a shot of chilled Baileys!


Boozy Butternut Snap Chocolate Tartlets
 
Ingredients
 
1 x 250g packet Arnotts Butternut Snap Biscuits
1/3 cup cream
200g milk chocolate, chopped
65g unsalted butter, chopped
Flake, chocolate bar
1 shot glass of Baileys Irish Cream (or coffee liquor) plus more to serve
 
Method
 
1. Preheat oven to 180c. Place 12 biscuits over each hole of a 12 hole patty muffin tray. Bake for 2-3 minutes until soft.
 
2. Remove from oven and carefully press softened biscuits into pan to mould into a cup shape. Allow to cool. Remove from tin and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining biscuits.
 
3.  Place butter, cream and chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir constantly for 7 minutes or until melted and smooth. Add a shot of Baileys and stir well. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes, until cool but not set.
 
4. Fill biscuit cases with 1 heaped teaspoon of chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with flake chocolate over the top. Place in fridge for 20 minutes until set, or ready to serve.
 
5. Chill a bottle of Baileys in the fridge and put shot glasses in the freezer, until ready to serve.
 
Serve these Chocolate Tartlets with a shot of chilled Baileys ..... it is sure to be a dessert to remember!


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kitchen Renovation - Featured On The Life Creative

The Life Creative

Chris Carroll is a stylist and writer behind The Life Creative blog which takes a light hearted look at interior design and decor.
 
Chris loves homes filled with personality and likes to showcase real homes of local readers which is why I'm so excited that my kitchen renovation was featured last week ..... on my Birthday in fact what an awesome Birthday gift!
  
You can see our kitchen featured over here and in the words of Chris .... They took this busy space from hum drum to hot tamale!
 
Kitchen Renovation After

You can find more Real Rooms over on the The Life Creative here

See more of my 1960s retro kitchen before here and the shiny modern after here
 
For all of my home renovations ugly befores and glorious afters check out my House Tour here

I hope your day is full of smiles and surprises!
 
 
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review and Preview: Then And Always: A Novel By Dani Atkins

This is a book review and preview of the book Then and Always: A Novel by Dani Atkins that is due to be published on 20 May 2014.

This is the first novel from author Dani Atkins and I don't think it will be her last - she is a brilliant writer. Dani lives in a 400 year old cottage in rural England with her family, two elderly cats and one very excitable border collie.


This is the story of Rachel fresh out of high school and in her early 20s, she has a terrible accident and can't remember her life from the last 5 years. The life Rachel remembers - where she lives, who her partner is, the career path she took, everything, is very different to the life that she actually wakes up to and starts to live.

This novel basically takes two different paths of how Rachel's life turned out - it's the kind of story that makes you stop and think about all those what if moments in your own life ... what if you had done things different, what if you left the house at a different time, what if you started talking to that stranger. Who knows how life could turn out, for better or worse, if you took another path!

I really liked the way the story was written from two different sides of Rachel's life. It was written very well and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. Rachel was very likable and very believable in the type of character she played as well.

This story line was very similar to Sliding Doors the movie with the 2 different lives that Gwyneth Paltrow lived. It also reminded me of the book One Day with the girl and best boy friend type story line - I loved One Day (I don't often give books 5 stars!) and I loved this book as well (yes it's another 5 star rating from me!).

I recommend this book to One Day and Sliding Door fans and anyone who likes a modern day romance.

I give this book 5 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


Then and Always can be purchased from Random House here

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

Disclosure: NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their product. As part of this promotion I was given this eBook published by Random House, Ballantine 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.


[Image via Random House]

 
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Friday, May 16, 2014

Interior Door Handles

Following on with us replacing all the internal doors in the house and hanging a new front door, once we had chosen the door styles, we also had to pick out the door handles ..... kind of crucial if you want to open or shut a door as I have discovered being trapped in the bathroom with no door handle the other day!

Picking the handles has proved to be harder than picking the doors themselves, because we are spoilt for choice when it comes to styles and brands. Sometimes I wish there were less choice because it would make picking one a lot easier!



Prices between brands really differ as well with some handles costing half the price of others.

The Bargain Queen in me always wants to save some pennies and go the cheaper option ..... But Mr P's voice of reason explains you want a trusted brand name with a handle that feels like good quality in your hand not some rattling cheap hardware that is going to fall apart.
 
Fair call Mr P and as you're paying for them and installing them I guess I'll keep my mouth shut and just blog about it instead!
 
 

We decided to pick our interior door handles in a similar style to our French Doors and Front Door handle. A tapered style of handle with an edging strip, in brushed silver because it doesn't show finger marks. While I love the shiny chrome look, I'd hate to have to clean marks off them all the time so the brushed silver finish is my favourite.


We chose these Lockwood handles because they had the same outline and shape as the new exterior handles. Plus we managed to find them at half the RRP price so paid $25 each instead of $45 in the stores.



A DIY job for the weekend will be to install the new handles on all the new internal doors .... it has been a bit of fun trying to open and close the bathroom door without a handle and I've had a few "I'm trapped in here and nobody's home" moments but luckily I managed to get the door open eventually without too much panic! 
  
Are you a brushed silver = no finger prints or shiny silver = love my bling kind of person?

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's My Birthday .... Almost !!!

 
So it's my Birthday tomorrow and maybe it's a sign of growing older or heaven forbid growing up but just like last year I'm not organising an entire week of Birthday celebrations this year.
 
I know it's a shock right!
 
 
I'm having just a few days off work for a chilled out Birthday, no big party or celebrations planned, I just want to spend time catching up with friends, drinking champagne, a bit of pampering at the day spa (always my Birthday present to myself!) and a romantic date night with my love Mr P.
 
And I'm one happy May babe!
 
 
If I'm not on the blog over the next few days (blame the champagne and relaxing massage bliss!) then you can always find me on Facebook and Instagram sharing snippets of my days.


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

No Laundry Reno Update This Week

 
 
I wanted to give you a Laundry/Powder Room renovation update this week on the laundry sink and taps, I even dedicated over 5 hours of my weekend to writing a blog post .... but somehow after 5 hours of typing, editing, uploading images, researching brands and styles, pros and cons and proof reading for the millionth time .....
 
I DELETED THE POST
 
All my work was gone at the click of a mouse. I stupidly closed it all down and hoped by some magical notion that it would all be restored when I went back in again. No such luck. I was angry and frustrated and sad and ready to burst into tears all at the same time. I get chocked up about it now just thinking about it!
 
 
If anyone has ever worked on something and then lost all their hard work, time and effort you'll know exactly how I feel.
 
I can't bring myself to write it all again even though I learn so much more about my home renovations when I write about them, explaining my decisions reinforces everything in my own mind and I become more confident in my decisions.
 
But not this time. I can't bring myself to do it all again. Sorry.

 
When was the last time you had a shit happens moment?
 
 
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