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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Where I Shop Til I Drop

There are some key places I return to again and again for my hit of affordable homewares around Perth. It's the vases, cushions and art on the walls that start to turn a house into a welcoming home and where you can add your splash of personality and surround yourself with things that you love.

I've been helping friends out lately suggesting shops to go to for certain house and home items so I thought I'd share a list of my favourite places to shop around Perth. This is not a sponsored post these are shops that I love to go to because they offer value for money and pretty shiny items that I can't resist especially when they're on sale!

  • Target – Sign up for their newsletter they email a different special every day and if you see something you like and can wait for it to be on sale, they rotate the 20-50% off specials weekly. Target have a large variety of wall art and decor items that are good quality and sometimes mistaken for designer pieces. They have a quick turnover of their products so the shelves are changing frequently which means there's always something new and shiny to admire and put into the trolley.  
  • Kmart – Always low prices although not as fancy looking. They are increasing their small decor range to include a range of lighting, I paid $90 for the Man Cave pendant light from Beacon and Kmart has an almost identical one for only $15. I also just bought a twin set of black/chrome bedside touch lamps from there for $25 after looking for years for that style everywhere else with no luck.
  • Freedom – This store rocks, it is fun and affordable with designer look pieces. They always have cushions on sale which I can’t stop buying ... I have about 20 at last count! They have stylish kitchenware, vases (like my favourite green one), decor, wall art and a good range of lighting. They often have sales so sign up for their newsletter to get the latest specials, they are giving RACWA members 20% discount this week.
  • Spotlight – This is my go to place for a huge choice of cushions, table runners and rugs. They also have a variety of kitchenware, homewares and decor items that end up in my hands after browsing the pretty fabrics and crafts in this store.
  • Ikea – Their stock doesn’t change for the whole year so you can pick what you want from their catalogue and go there on a mission with your list in hand and fill the car! Sign up for their newsletter and they email a discount voucher every month like $20 off if you spend $100. Ikea stock everything from furniture to plants but I find they have a great range of frames (for framing your own art), wall art and decor.
  • The Reject Shop - I go here for the variety of frames and wall art. They also have affordable homewares, candle holders, that kind of thing.
  • Beaufort St, Mt Lawley – Start at Empire or Baker and Shuhandle they are both great for design ideas but too expensive for me, then visit the funky decor shops all the way down Beaufort St until you get to the florist corner where you can buy a cheap bunch of flowers to take home! I’ve bought lots of homewares from Allure like this cute owl vase they are quite affordable and on trend, they also have a separate room just for their art work. Behind The Monkey a few doors down sell homewares too but they've closed half their store so not as much stock anymore but still great for one of a kind purchases.
  • Sussan and Sportsgirl - Although these are fashion stores they have a small but fantastic range of quirky homewares that often go on sale, I think because people just don't go there to shop for these things - I've bought a terrarium and yellow wooden clock that everyone comments on asking where they are from, a great place to browse when you're out clothes shopping!
So that's my list of favourite places to shop around Perth 
If there are any shops on your hit list I've missed I'd love to know about them!

Linking up with Blogs and PR and Talk To Us Thursdays
[Images via Pinterest 1 and 2]
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How We Party - Tour De Fridge

I know I'm a little slow on the Tour De Fridge recap and I did promise to share photos of our crazy antics so here they are just a few months late!

Tour De Fridge is getting together with a group of friends and travelling on anything on wheels (bike, skateboard, etc) and going to the 1st house and drinking the fridge dry (or esky in our case) before moving onto the 2nd house and so on. To add to the excitement we pick a fancy dress theme ... this year it was Super Heros in previous years it's been Aerobics and Christmas.

This Tour De Fridge had 3 houses to tour to and once we knew numbers we worked out how much to charge for drinks, nibbles and dinner then collected the money and hit the shops.

We bought as much beer, wine, champagne and alco-pops as we could and the remaining money went towards nibbles like chips, dips, sausage rolls and party pies then for the BBQ dinner sausages, rolls and salads.

We set them all up at the houses the night before so we were ready to roll come Saturday ....

That watermelon is not exactly healthy ... we soaked it in a bottle of vodka the night before!

This is my costume - I went as Pow Girl a made up comic chick inspired by the red material I found at an op shop years ago that became my cape, paired with some stripy socks, my Forever New yellow shorts and a Supre comic tank. I added some stick on glitter letters POW to my arm and gems to my face.

This is the group in action ... we had lots of awesome super heros:

Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Bat Man, Robin, Green Goblin, Green Machine, Suits of Invincibility, Policia, Poison Ivy, Captain Planet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
and just generally lots of underwear worn on the outside of pants
like Sugar Tits and Candy Pants!

There were 3 houses and mine was the last where we ended up just before evening for a BBQ dinner, drinking games and ping pong.

I decorated the patio with lots of flowers in tins - a tip I saw on Nigella Lawson's show she's not just good at moaning over her easy recipes!

I was even more thrifty and reused the paper wrapped in the flowers by cutting off strips and sticking to the tins.

You are probably thinking that drinking and riding may be a little dangerous and you would be right ... there was a broken elbow among all this fun and excitement and the year before it was a broken wrist.

So from now on we are going to allow bikes only - the skateboards seem to be the easiest thing to fall off of and the biggest esky is at the last house where everyone can stay after a big day out!

So that's how we party Tour De Fridge style!

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[All images my own]

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Take A Shiny White Boot

My eye is constantly drawn to shiny white things and this adorable little boot was no exception. I found it in Myer labelled as a pen holder and better yet it was on sale for less than $10.
I put some pretty carnations in it and it made the perfect little vase.

Whenever I buy flowers for the house I always put a vase of flowers in the bathroom, in this case it was the granny flat bathroom because we had a party and needed the extra bathroom outside!

[All images my own]

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Take A Looksy At The Second Kitchen Design

So I've shown you the 1st kitchen design plans and now have the 2nd kitchen design in my hot little hands to show you.

Here is the window side with the sink, dishwasher and pantry in the corner
The window will need to be bricked in a bit where the pantry sits which I'm not convinced about (see my suggested changes in 4th image below)

This is the view from the fridge side which will house the oven, stove and microwave
I love that there will be a decent amount of bench space next to the oven for cooking

This is the areal view of the plans showing the Island Bench in the centre so you can walk around the kitchen on either side.
The door takes you out into the Laundry/Powder Room and is the only access to the backyard. It is also the shoppers entry into the Garage we built on.

I like the fridge/oven design side and I like the Island Bench (yes I've been convinced because of the bench space I'll gain next to the oven!) but I don't like that the pantry will be smaller than what we have now and we'll need to spend time and money replacing the window. So I've come up with a new design for that corner ....

Instead of putting the pantry in the corner, I want to put it against the back wall with overhead cabinets on top. It will be as narrow as the bench top but longer so still the same amount of storage. Then in the corner, we'll put open shelving to display my kitchenware and cookbooks can go on the bench top underneath.
With the pantry removed it will give us a longer bench to fit in a bin drawer or something similar and no need to move the window which will be a saving of about $1000.

I was totally off the Island Bench and dead set on the L Shape Bench but thanks to your advice and comments I've come round to the Island Bench. What would I do without my helpful readers thanks to all of you I really appreciate it :)
As for the storage space issue that was settled getting out the tape measure and comparing both plans, although Design 1 looked like it had more cupboards, there was dead space in those corners and it would look very busy and probably make the space look smaller. Design 2 has a better flow and openness to it plus it actually had more usable bench space especially near the oven and about the same amount of storage space other than the extra appliance cupboard that sadly I won't now get. Design 2 has more drawers vs mainly cupboards in Design 1 - my vote is for drawers all the way baby so I can actually access everything in there! 
The quote for Design 2 is $14,000 which is $3,000 more than Design 1 but includes mainly all drawers (vs cupboards), assembly, installation and granite bench tops (vs mainly cupboards, not installed and laminate bench tops). Plus we have dealt with the company before they did our bathroom vanity which has a stunning granite bench top so we know they do great workmanship.

It is such a relief to have chosen the company and design basis, we just need to tweak the pantry position and then we'll be able to finalise the design this week!
[All images my own]

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday's Letters - Dear Travel Fever

Happy Friday everyone! I'm sharing my Friday's Letters over at The Sweet Season why don't you head on over here and link up some letters too.
I'm imagining this weeks letters are written from this dramatic and modern office space as that has been my mood this week .... dramatic!

Dear Travel Fever - I can feel the urge to travel erupting inside of me like a volcano ... my need to head overseas is on the verge of spilling out like lava! This girl needs a Holiday, somewhere, anywhere and in the next few months!
Dear Lexi - Week 6 and your mischievous dog antics had you dig so far under our hot water tank that your body could fit underneath. Let's hope the concrete slabs stop you from digging from now on or we'll need to call you flat as a pancake Lexi. That tank is heavy girl and dangerous!
Dear Old Tenants - Thanks to you all, it went well and I don't mind being a landlord when it's not stressful!

Dear New Tenant - Wanting to change the terms of the lease 3 days in is not cool, don't make me regret giving you a chance missy.
Dear Second Kitchen Quote - I feel like a betrayer getting another quote for the kitchen renovation but it's a huge job and a lot of money so had to be done. Now I'm confused about which design I like the best they're both so different!

Dear Friday Night Movies - I only go to the movies a few times a year so that's my excuse for doing it in style at La Premiere tonight with big arm chairs, bottomless popcorn and a glass of wine bought in halfway through the movie, yes don't mind if I do!
Head on over here to join in with Friday's Letters
[Image via Pinterest]
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kitchen Design - L Shape Bench Vs Island Bench

Since our first quote for the new kitchen layout I've now had a second quote from the company who made our bathroom vanity.
We knew we wanted to get a kitchen quote from them as we love our bathroom cabinet and they have a great range of bench tops at a good price. The driving force was visiting a friend's place on the weekend who had their kitchen designed by these guys and it looked amazing, so we went and got a quote from them this week.
The planning was a bit more interactive than the first quote, the designer came to our house and took photos and measurements and threw out some suggestions while we were there. Then we drove back to his office (only 5 minutes away) and he put the measurements into the computer and played around with the cupboards and appliances bringing the kitchen to life in 3d on the screen.

The 1st design is PRACTICAL - More storage cupboards/drawers, an extra appliance cupboard and bigger pantry.

This 2nd design is PRETTY - It has less storage but a more open feel. It will also require us bricking in some of the kitchen window. The pantry is smaller and there is no appliance cupboard. The plus to this design is there is room next to the cook top to prepare and cook which is lacking in the first design.

This has totally thrown me the different designs and what is the best decision to make. To be practical and have storage for all my kitchenware or to be pretty so when it comes to resale in a few years time the kitchen will look more appealing and appear bigger. The Domestic Goddess voice inside me is screaming storage all the way ... I may not need so many different types of kitchenware but I have them and they need to fit somewhere!

The biggest difference that I'm battling with between them is the 1st design has an L Shape Bench which we have now Vs the 2nd design has an Island Bench which I've never had before ....

L shape bench
What I love about the L shape bench is it can fit 2-3 friends to sit up there and have a glass of wine and chat while I prepare and cook dinner on the bench in front of them. I love to sit there and flip through cook books or the laptop and watch Mr P cook.

The downside to the L shape is there is dead space in the corner which you can't really use the cupboards or the bench top because you need to lean over which just isn't practical for say the coffee machine, it would probably just be space for a fruit bowl or decor.


Island Bench
The good thing about an island bench is it would create a more open feel as you could walk around the kitchen from both sides of the bench. It would also create an extra cupboard in what would otherwise be dead space in the L shape and you could use the bench top easier for the coffee machine or the like as you could stand in front of it, instead of having to lean over.

The downside to the island bench is that it will seat probably only 2 people and there won't really be room for them to sit comfortably and me prepare food in front of them too.

Decisions, decisions, this kitchen planning really is full on but I want to take my time and think about the design before I sign on the dotted line!

What are your thoughts on L Shape Vs Island Benches?
Which do you find more practical?

[Images via Pinterest 1 and 2]

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Club: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower By Stephen Chbosky

The entire book is written in the form of letters from the main character teenage Charlie to a person who is unknown. Charlie grows up in the 90s an era of mixed tapes, smoking joints in basements and The Rocky Horror Show. Charlie is in his first year at High School, super smart but just doesn't know it and thinks intensely about everything, he's a watcher not a doer thus the name 'wallflower'.

This book is about growing up and pains of High School, the loss of friends and making friends, teen sexuality and the challenges Charlie faces being a young adult who thinks about everyone and everything in such detail, but never himself. He is brutally honest and full of uncontrollable emotion.

This book tugs on the heart strings and I felt really sad for Charlie. The story has a twist that I kind of saw coming as to why Charlie is the way that he is. It was quite a small book and very easy to read, considering it was a book solely written in letter format from 1 character I think the author is pretty talented to keep the reader engaged like he did. I loved the reference to different books Charlie read like Catcher in the Rye and especially liked the quotes and sayings in the book, this is my favourite:

"Why do I, and everyone I love, pick people who treat us like we're nothing
We accept the love we think we deserve"

The Perks of Being A Wallflower has also recently been made into a movie which I would love to watch ... another movie night perhaps!

I would recommend this book to young adults and anyone who both loved and hated High School. 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 via Amazon]

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Recipe: Gingerbread Loaf in Bread Maker

I try to drag my Bread Maker out once a month to make it worth the begging I did for it for my Birthday present last year.
I'm yet to make a plain bread - it's either savoury or sweet and this Gingerbread loaf was really light and made the house smell sweet and sugary it was just divine.

750g loaf in Bread Maker

250ml Water
1 tbs Margarine
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Golden syrup
2 tsp Ginger, ground
1/2 tsp All spice, ground
1 tsp Bread improver
480g Plain flour
2 tsp Yeast
1/4 cup Sultanas
1/4 cup Almonds, slivered

Add the ingredients into the Bread Maker in the following order - liquid, dry, yeast and then press start. 
Measure all the liquid ingredients first - add the water, margarine and golden syrup

Next add the dry ingredients - Spices, Ginger

And All Spice

Bread Improver which makes it fluffy

Then the flour is measured and added

 Lastly the Dry Yeast to help it rise

 Then it all goes into the Bread Maker to mix and knead all ingredients together

The sultanas and almonds are dispensed and mixed in

Next it rises and then bakes

When it's ready it will switch from bake to warm and you can turn it out

Slather it in butter and eat with a cuppa it's the breakfast of champions!

This is what I love about my Bread Maker, you just put it all in there and it mixes, kneads, rests and bakes all by itself!

[All images my own]
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Still Channeling Audrey

Since the Hollywood dress up party I'm still channeling my inner Audrey with these gorgeous sayings

And my personal favourite ....

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

[Images via Pinterest 1, 2, 3, 4]

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday's Letters - Dear Valentines Day

Hello Friday it's so good to see you! I'm linking up my Friday's Letters over at The Sweet Season why don't you head on over here and link up some letters too.

I'm imagining I'm writing my letters from this relaxing home office space with a pot of tea to keep me company.

Dear Valentines Day - I don't need a day a year to make me feel loved by my man, he makes me feel loved every single day... although waking up to a big bunch of flowers and breakfast of vegemite on toast was pretty perfect. Love you to the moon and back baby x

Dear Lexi - Week 5's destruction was you ripping out the frangapanis I had been growing for months from cuttings and had started to flower and look beautiful. Plants in the ground are not a dogs play things!

Dear Sick Friends - One friend came out of hospital this week (the care package must have helped!) but sadly another friend went in. It breaks my heart when my friends are sick I just want to you feel better soon. Love you like sisters xx

Dear Tenants Moving Out - Let's hope for a smooth transition today when you vacate the property, I just want it clean and tidy and ready for the new tenant to move straight in. No dramas and no hassles please and thank you.

Dear New Tenant Moving In - I've given you a chance as you've never rented a property on your own before. Someone has to give you your first go, and I know what that's like so just don't let me down ok.

Dear Body - You may have only managed to run 2 laps and walk for 4 but you are hurting which means it must have done something! I'm keen to get fit and into running no pain no gain body!


Head on over here to join in your Friday's Letters

[Image via Pinterest here]

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Courtyard Saga Continues ... Plan C

Since the first peek at the Courtyard plans late last year we are still at the Council approval stage.
My 1st attempt at fluttering my eyelashes and lodging the plans with the Council for approval were knocked back as they needed more details.
The 2nd attempt we provided copies of the Garage Extension plans they approved a year ago as these showed more detailed drawings of the house and land elevation. We also had to submit a Building Application form and pay a fee.
Since then for the last few weeks we've had our fingers crossed hoping to hear from the Council soon as the legislation has recently changed and the Council need to respond within 25 days. I know this must put pressure on them but it is a relief to know we aren't just waiting for months (or up to a year as we did for the Garage Extension).
Well no news is good news as they say because the Council told us last week the fence doesn't meet requirements and we need to send in drawings giving more detail of the height of the retaining walls and fence. We also need to lodge another Building Application form and pay another fee.
So our 3rd attempt has us doing just that, we'll draw on the plans the heights and re-submit them together with a form and more money honey.
Here lies our problem - the angle of where the house sits means
the fence is high on some sides and low on the other
That's one hell of a slippery slope!
Courtyard you will be built one day soon - I promise!
The staff at the Council are actually really helpful and I understand that they need to tick their boxes before giving approvals, but it is still frustrating from our side because we just want to start building.
Not one to be defeated here comes Plan C!
[All images my own]
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Hollywood Dress Up Party: Audrey Hepburn + James Dean

I went to a Murder Mystery Hollywood themed party the other weekend and dressed up as Audrey Hepburn and Mr P went as James Dean.

I'm a big fan of creating my own outfits for fancy dress, a trip to the op shop and some accessory shops and a hunt around my wardrobe and I can usually come up with something pretty good.

I went for Audrey's Breakfast at Tiffany's look and found a long black halter dress from the op shop for $6, the first one I tried on and it fit perfectly! 

The diamonte collar was from Diva $35 that I bought recently to go with a wedding outfit and the diamonte and pearl hair clip was a great find at Temt $3. 

The satin gloves, pearl bracelet, diamonte studs and suede heels I already had.

For my hair and makeup I used my hair accessory that pulls my hair into a tight bun and then clipped the diamonte and pearl clip around and unleashed the hair spray to tame the fly aways.

Audrey was a fan of natural make up so I used nude eyeshadow, lightly smoked black eyeliner, lashings of black mascara and rose toned lipstick.

As for James Dean Mr P wore his tightest fitting jeans, a white bonds t-shirt and pack of cards that looked like cigarettes up his sleeve and he was an instant James Dean lookalike

Rather handsome too if I might add ;)

The Murder Mystery party had a hired host who organised us into groups, gave us each a name to play by (I was The Oscar Winner and Mr P was The Villain) and had us competing for clues to figure out who the murderer was.

It turned out the murderer was someone in my team and we won the Best Sleuth Award for guessing correctly and dobbing him in!

It was a really great night with lots of fabulous costumes and the Murder Mystery was fun to play out.

Are you a fan of fancy dress parties?

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[All images my own]
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