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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DIY Advent Calendars

I've been wanting to make an Advent Calendar for years now but as we don't have kids I feel like I don't have much of an excuse for making one other than for Mr P and I's love of chocolate!

I like the easy no sew options of little envelopes or bags, string, cute pegs and stickers. I have looked everywhere for the envelopes or bags but not had any luck so this little project might have to wait another year unfortunately.

It hasn't stopped me stalking Etsy shops and admiring these beautiful Advent Calendars ....

Have you made your own Advent Calendar?

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[First image Desire Empire, All other images via My Pinterest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Help! I've Reached My Limit

I had a bit of a panic attack on the weekend when I went to upload some photos into a post and was told I had reached my free storage limit in Picasa and it wouldn't let me upload any more photos.
I deleted some photos from my Picasa albums to try to clear some space and even after deleting about 50 photos it still didn't budge from the 99% full mark.
I also stupidly deleted my profile picture which I was devastated about and no matter how many times I tried I couldn't upload another one from Photobucket or Picasa. I also noticed a lot of my photos on my blog had been replaced by a big black box with a line through it which I managed to fix over 2 strong coffees by changing all my photo albums to public. Phew!
The only option I seemed to have was to buy extra storage from Google storage at $2.49USD a month for 25 GB - so that's what I've done and it was simple enough to do online and the changes to my Picasa storage came through within a few minutes.
But I'm still peeved about it - I would have thought that in this big wide web world that Blogger would remain free and thus blogging would remain free and it really blows that I'm going to be up for a charge each month due to the photo album storage. A blog needs photos - it would be pretty boring to just read all these words you need the photos to help tell the tale. So scarily enough the photos and size limit in the albums is only going to grow as my blog grows and I continue to post.
So I have some questions for my lovely readers -
Have you reached the storage limit before? If so what did you do?
I was also toying with the idea of moving my blog across to Wordpress as I've read lots of good things about it and that it can do a lot more things than Blogger -
Have you moved to Wordpress? What do you think?
I really love my blog I've grown to rely on it as my creative outlet and it makes me so happy to share my goings on and I'd be absolutely devastated if I couldn't continue to post and share photos as I have been for these past few years.
Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated!
[Image via Pinterest]
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Club: Chocolat By Joanne Harris

The November book club read was Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Chocolat is the story of a quirky woman and free spirited child who move into a quaint French village, open a chocolate shop, and unbeknown to them start to change the lives of the villagers. Ironically this sweet indulgent chocolate shop sits opposite the Church where the villagers go to speak of their sins.
The book came from the library and was old and worn and suited the story well. I really enjoyed the writing style everything was described so you felt you were living in the village yourself .... I could imagine the cobblestone roads of the village, the boats on the river, the old women and bristly men characters, the nasty priest and most of all the smell of the chocolate shop. I didn't really like the ending of the book and I thought there could've been more of a love interest in the story.

I have neither watched the movie (shocking considering it has my favourite Johnny Depp in it!) nor read this book before and I was in for a real treat. Us book club girls are also planning a movie night after the book review which I think will be fitting for us all to bring chocolate dishes to share!

I would recommend this book for both young and old it is a really beautiful story and well written. 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
[Image from here]
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Fridays Letters - Dear Dads Birthday

It's Friday which means it's time to join in with Friday's Letters link up party hosted by the lovely Ashley at Adventures of Newlyweds
I'm imagining I'm writing this weeks letters tapping away at the laptop on this comfy chair and sipping on a dry martini

Dear Dad's Birthday - Happy Birthday from Monday to my awesome Dad! Thank you for a lifetime of love and guidance xx

Dear Sunshine - Spring is about to meet Summer and the warmer weather and sunshine on my skin is a welcome change ... bring on the sunshine!

Dear Fruit - You have become my morning staple and I'm loving the stone fruits in season they are healthy and delicious.

Dear Party Planning - Why do I turn into a stress head with a list a mile long before a party? I even want to wrap my Christmas presents to put under the tree so it looks pretty! Anyways I'm sure it will be worth as soon as I have a nice cold beverage in my hand!
Dear Tour De Fridge - Saturday will be a day of crazy fun riding around with friends dressed as Super Heros ... now that's what a call a wild weekend ahead!

Dear Thanksgiving - Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers I hope you have a fantastic time with family and friends and eat lots and drinks lots too!


[Image via my Pinterest]

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Is A Tour De Fridge?

I'm planning our annual Tour De Fridge this weekend .... What is a Tour De Fridge you ask? 

For those who haven't heard of a Tour De Fridge before it's when you get a group of friends together, travel to a house and drink the esky dry and then travel to the next place and drink the esky dry and so on.

Travel is by anything on wheels - bike, skates, skateboard, scooter - thus the name Tour De Fridge.

In the interests of safety we all have to wear helmets and in the responsible service of alcohol there are nibbles with the drinks at the first 2 stops and then a BBQ dinner at the last stop (which is at my house for this tour de fridge).

We charge a cover fee which pays for the wine, beer and food.

The theme this year is Super Heros so there'll be a few capes flapping in the wind as we ride on by!

It's an awesome day out and my once a year chance to get on a bike and go for a ride!

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[All images via my pinterest 1, 2,  3, 4, 5, 6]

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Good Thoughts and Sunbeams

I'm heeding the advice of the beloved Roald Dahl this week

Sadly, Roald Dahl left this world 22 years ago (23 November 1990) and was an incredible author, poet, fighter pilot, the list goes on.
Matilda was my favourite book I must of read it 10 times over I absolutely loved it. Most likely because I could relate to the book loving character Matilda :)
Do you have a favourite Roald Dahl book?

[Images via my Pinterest here here and here]

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Fishy Friends

In my bar fish tank I've added a few more bottles and steins to give the fish more places to hide and swim around
My fishy friends are 2 angel fish, 2 spotted catfish, an algae eater and a striped clown loach that loves to lay upside down and play dead freaking me out each time I see it!

This wine buffet has come in so handy not only does it hold the fish tank, but we have set up the coffee machine on one side and a bar tray on the other so its the morning caffeine station and evening wine station!

I never tire of watching my fishy friends swim around and it's always a great conversation piece when friends are over!

Have you ever thought about having pet fish?
They are the easiest pets to look after!

[All images my own]

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Fridays Letters - Dear A Bit About Me

Hello there Friday it's so good to see you! I'm joining up with Adventures of Newlyweds link up party - Friday's Letters!
I'm imagining I'm writing this weeks letters from this pretty rustic desk inhaling the scent of the beautiful yellow blooms
Dear A Bit About Me - I've added in a new page A Bit About Me but I can't figure out how to add it separately so it's mixed in with my Finished Reno Rooms for now!

Dear Bachelorette the movie - This was the perfect mid week chick flick to watch with my bestie (although not as funny as Bridesmaids!). There's  nothing like a good comedy to put a smile on your face.
Dear Garden - You're looking pretty good with a bit of mulch and weeding. Once I get some fairy lights up you'll be ready for summertime parties!

Dear Ikea - I was a little disappointed with the shopping trip this week, I came with my spend $90 get $15 off voucher but only managed to spend $70. You didn't have any of the frames I needed in stock or Chrissy decorations I saw in your catalogue. Lucky you redeemed yourself with those cute glass striped espresso cups!
Dear Christmas Tree - I know it's only November but I'm going to put you up this weekend and tinsel-fy my house. I'm pretty sure once the tree is up I can start drinking spiked egg nog too :)


[Image via My Pinterest]
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cheese Flags and a Platter

You know when you're at a party hovering over the cheese platter and wondering what type of cheese is before you ... A smokey dutch and strong edam can look pretty similar but have very different tastes!

Well wonder no more when you can make these cute little cheese flags!

I was making this cheese platter to take to a party and had a spare 5 minutes so I grabbed .... Some toothpicks, textured paper which I cut in strips with patterned scissors, rolled on some glue, folded it over the toothpick and wrote the cheese names on the flags

It got a few laughs and nobody had to ask me what the cheeses were, which mean I could relax and enjoy my wine AND cheese!

Sharing with this weeks link parties:
Savvy Southern Style
The Dedicated House and
You Are Talking Too Much

[All images my own]
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday Gardening

What do you do when you get a call from friends offering a ute load of mulch for the garden?
Cancel your Sunday plans and spend it gardening instead!

It was perfect gardening weather high 20s and sunshine

We drove around and filled the ute with mulch
We were given these Frangipani cuttings a few weeks ago which have started to sprout and hopefully we'll get a few survivors - although it looks a bit like a graveyard like this I find them a bit spooky when they're not in flower!
Before the neglected Back Fence Garden with the Dietes that refuse to die!
They're super tough plants don't need much water or fuss

Weeded and ready to lay mulch on the Dietes and Frangipanis on the far right

We dug up and transplanted a few Dietes from the front of the house to fill in this
garden bed a bit more ... these plants love to be split and replanted!
Mulched and a few limestone blocks to make up a garden border
The Around The Tree Garden also got a weed and mulch
The flowers in this garden have stopped blooming since my Spring post last month

After the mulch and limestone blocks make the garden look a lot more manicured
Not bad for a few hours work and not a cent spent!
The lawn is not growing well on the left hand side we think its the nuts that drop from the gum tree, and probably because its in the shade too. It really sucks after we spent so much time laying it, I wish it would grow lush and green!
I also weeded the vegetable and herb garden beds, pulling out the old plants that have gone to seed and will plant some cherry tomatoes and basil in the coming weeks to get ready for the Summer harvest!

[All images my own]

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wine and Food Discoveries Down South, Western Australia

I  recently spent a couple of fun filled days Down South WA with my Book Club girls and if there's something we have in common it's wine and food

We went to some fantastic wineries and food places so I thought I'd share them with you so if you are ever around the Dunsborough / Yallingup / Margaret River region these places are all within driving distance and great places to visit.

Bushtucker Winery and Brewery Tour - I strongly suggest you book yourself onto a wine tour so you don't need to worry about driving!

You are spoilt for choice on tour companies Down South - we chose the Bushtucker Tour because they change their itinerary depending on where they pick up from which keeps it interesting - our tour was for 6 hours and we visited 2 winery's, a brewery, a liquor factory, chocolate and cheese factory.

Our tour guide was forthright and straight to the point he kept us moving and got us to places on time. Lunch was included and was an Aussie tucker tasting plate of crocodile, emu, kangaroo and witchetty grubs to name a few!

Driftwood Winery Estate - The building is like an old castle and they also have an amphitheatre which would make an incredible party venue under the stars in summertime.

The wine here was the best of our tour and reasonably priced, we picked up bottles of Rose for only $10 each.

Knotting Hill Estate - This winery was picture perfect with a large lake backdrop and deck to sit and enjoy the view. The wines here were a bit more expensive and not to my taste although you can buy any glass of wine for $7 and it's a big glass!

The wine guide gave us a rundown on the vineyard history and was really friendly.

We had lunch here overlooking the lake, which the Bushtucker Tour Guide set out for us.

The Grove - This place is best known for its liquor factory but it's also a winery and is a must visit if you're ever in the region. The guys that served us were so entertaining (even though I got called Julia Gillard's illegitimate love child!).

The liquors were sensational and I couldn't resist a take home bottle of lemonchello for the freezer. There's a sunny garden out the back to enjoy a strong liquor cocktail or two.

Cheeky Monkey Brewery / Killerby Winery - Why hasn't anyone thought of this before putting a brewery AND winery at the same venue?! The guys head to the brewery side for beer tasting and the girls to the cellar door for wine tastings. Meet outside on a table out under the patio or sit on the lawn and soak up some sunshine. A perfect place for a few lazy Sunday drinks, I recommend the cider on tap.

The only downside was they only serve pizzas in the afternoon which was unfortunate because we were craving some easy nibbles with our drinks, so they missed out on our food order and all the others craving some hot chips with their drinks!

House of Cards Winery - This is a new up and coming winery located in the same complex as Gabriel Chocolate (see below). The name comes from the fact that the growth of vines is always a gamble, depending on the hand that is dealt by mother nature.

The tastings here were fresh and crisp and the shop sells funky homewares art and books.

Clancys Fish Pub, Dunsborough - They don't take bookings for dinner so we were lucky to arrive on a Saturday night and secure a table with fun multi coloured chairs.

There wasn't a long wait for the meal as feared and if you aren't afraid of spicy food I'd recommend the fried mice they are unusually tasty, the fish and chips were crunchy and delicious.

The only downside was they only served beer and wine but no spirits and after a day of wine touring I was really craving a refreshing Rum and Lemonade.

Rivendell Winery - Our group of 6 stayed in the Rivendell Winery Villas on site so we had to check out the restaurant after a taxi driver told us it was one of the best places to dine in the area.

We had some wine tastings in the Cellar Door beforehand and bought a few bottles of sparking white wine to take home. We had lunch in a beautiful setting with kangaroos bouncing around the vineyards.

The downside was the same wine we just tasted we had to pay double the price for in the restaurant. The food was nice but I think we were all a bit too full from wining and dining over the last few days to enjoy it completely.

Gabriel Chocolate - Located in the same complex as House of Cards Winery (see above) this is a sweet smelling chocolate factory with friendly staff who offered to show us into the factory so we could see the chocolate being made.

The chocolate is roasted from beans across the world and each packet is colour coded to show you where it is made.

The Margaret River Chocolate Factory - Most Perth people have heard of or been to this place and the size of the shop gives you an insight into it's popularity.

Head straight for the big silver bowls of chocolate buds for tastings and then linger over the wrapped chocolates deciding if you really want to spend that much on a small bar of chocolate, then head back to the bowls for more tastings, then buy the chocolate anyway!

Olio Bello Olive Oil Farm - This organic olive oil farm offers a large number of oil tastings as well as relishes, sauces and dukha. The flavours of these products are amazing you won't be able to walk away without buying something.

We shared a tasting plate with delicious fetta, tomatoes and olives in their oils and I couldn't help myself I had to go back inside and buy more products to take home with like the Mandarin Chilli Sauce ah-mah-zing!

The Margaret River Diary Company - With all those wines we'd purchased we needed to stop by the Cheese Factory for some cheese tastings and to take home some cheeses to make up a tasting plate.

You can buy these cheeses in a lot of the Supermarkets now but you get more variety purchasing from the company direct.

The Berry Farm - About a 15 minute drive out of Margaret River, we should have visited here when we were in Margaret River the day before but decided it was worth the drive back there to check it out and we made it worth our while - between 2 of us we spent $350 on liquors, ports, ciders, passion fruit sparkling wine (to die for!) and of course jams, relishes and salad dressings.

That was after getting a discount when we discovered some bullants floating in our port tasting - hey if I was an ant I'd want to die being drowned in booze too! There are so many products here to taste and the liquors and ports were really good value.

We finished our morning with scones, jam and cream in the Cafe before the long drive back to Perth.

You can fit a lot into a weekend Down South especially if you're a wine drinker!

Do you have a favourite place to visit when you head Down South? 

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Images my own - Book Club Girls x 2, Knotting Hill, The Grove, House of Cards, Gabriel Chocolate, The Berry Farm]

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