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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas + A Happy New Year

The house renovations and other projects seem to have sped up instead of slowed down as we get close to Christmas and the end of the year! 

I have so much to share with you guys so it's hard for me to sign off the blog but I know that I and everyone else needs a bit of a break this time of year so I'll stop inundating you with my blog posts and check back in the New Year.

I will still be active on my social media you can find me here:

I have some great product reviews and awesome giveaways planned that I can't wait to share with you. 

Not to mention I have the biggest parties of my life to plan - my engagement and wedding! 

I'll be sharing lots of ideas and inspiration for these as I put my party planning and organising skills to the test. Mr P and I have been engaged about a month now and have set a date we'll be getting hitched in September 2015 and I can't wait!

I hope you all have a very relaxing wonderful Christmas with your friends, family and everyone you love and that the New Year brings you everything you wish for and more.

Thank you all so very much for your support and friendship in 2014 and I look forward to blogging on Jarrah Jungle for a 5th year with you guys right by my side!



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Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Review: On The Road .... With Kids By John Ahern

This is a book review of On The Road .... With Kids by John Ahern which was recently published on 1 August 2014 by Pan MacMillan

I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book on Good Reads from the author, cheers John!

John Ahern is an Australian author who has travelled to over 80 countries and when he's not on the road he lives in Currumbin Valley with his wife and two young children.

This was a very funny, engaging and honest story told by John, an average family man, who decides with his lovely wife and two young kid to pack everything up and hit the road for a trip around Europe and beyond.

John has it all - the job, house, wife and kids but feels that he's lacking something. When he finds himself unemployed and unwell, he decides to buy a busted up camper van on the other side of the world and drag his family on a year long road trip!

What John is lacking probably holds true to all of us as we get caught up in our busy lives, distracted by technology, it can make us forget what it's like to really connect with our family, friends, and loved ones.

If you are a traveller you will love the trip down memory lane as John takes you with him to beautiful sights and adventures. I loved John's writing and realness about what it's really like to travel, warts and all, especially by road when they have to do everything themselves including empty the toilet!

I recommend this book to travel lovers, young and old, or even someone looking to put that spark back in their lives, this book might just be the driving force to get you on the road!

I give this book 5 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

On The Road .... With Kids can be purchased from the author John Ahern here

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Garage Clean Up + My Fiance's Other Love

We have been tackling a few home improvement projects over the last few weeks, one of them was to give the garage a good clean out and then seal and paint the garage floor.

This is for Mr P's other love who is moving back in ...
Oh yes I might not have mentioned before Mr P has 3 loves in his life .....

There's yours truly the newly engaged fiance .... Then there's Lexi his adorable furbaby ....

Then there's the she-beast - A 1977 Toyota Celica that was driven over to the Jarrah Jungle home 5 years ago but sadly has never been driven since.

It has been parked in our lovely neighbors driveway for almost 2 years while we built the garage and laid the new driveway and now we are finally ready to bring home the she-beast!

But first, as Mr P famously said to me once (and I never let him forget it!) a beautiful woman needs beautiful things and so the she-beast had to get a clean, sealed and painted garage to move into!

We had a really good clear out and moved what we needed into the granny flat and the rest went on the verge for pickup - cupboards, our old BBQ, a bunch of homewares and within minutes they were gone, being taken to a new home!

Once the garage was empty we used our trusty pressure cleaner to get all the dirt and marks off and left it to dry. Then just before painting we used the vacuum to clean up any dust that may have blown in.

These 2 things we have used constantly since renovating - The Karcher vacuum cleaner and water pressure cleaner - both have been lifesavers and a great investment for doing jobs around the house.

Once the floor was clean, it was ready to be sealed and painted. 

For the paint we used an industrial heavy duty floor enamel paint tinted in charcoal to match the new driveway.

This paint was really strong smelling and we had to leave the garage door open a bit each night to let the fumes out.

Mr P did 2 coats over a few days and left it to dry for a week before we moved anything back in.

Once the floor was painted we could bring the she-beast to her lovely new home. Now that was a mission in itself as the car needs new tyres as the ones on it were worn down to the rims so we managed to find some new tyres and change them over, but then the car wouldn't start, so we had to tow it over from the neighbors house.

I was too scared to get into the car to steer because of the years worth of cob webs, spiders and creepy crawlys so our neighbour came to the rescue and steered while Mr P towed it in.

I think our neighbors deserve a case of wine for Christmas this year, not just a bottle!

Our next plans for the garage are to give the walls a bit of a freshen up with some Dulux Render Refresh paint, which repairs cracks in render. We have a few cracks appearing here in the garage so it will be good to fix those up and see what this paint is like and of course I'll share a product review on the Dulux paint here too!

We also want to set up some shelving and organisation so we can use it for storage, because where we currently storing everything in the granny flat will be demolished in the coming months as our plans to subdivide the block are in motion.

Does your partner have another love? 
Does it also have 4 wheels or is it something else? 
Do tell!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Best Travel Companions - ASUS Tablets

I had the opportunity to take the new ASUS tablets a MeMO Pad 7 and Transformer Pad with keyboard as my travel companions on my recent cruise holiday onboard Carnival Legend to give them a trial run.

We all know that travelling is not all roses and sunshine and part of the holiday is the journey to get there ..... this can mean waiting around at the airport, bored out of your brain, getting restless and impatient, and in need of something to do to pass the time.

In the good ole days we use to lug our heavy, clunky laptop around to backup photos and check emails and travel details, that's if you could get the internet.

Nowadays we all have smart phones which are fantastic for checking social media but I find the small screen isn't ideal for checking flight details and websites and the battery goes flat before the day is over because I use it for so many things. 

ASUS tablets as travel companions ....

The MeMO Pad 7 is geared towards keeping kids (and big kids!) entertained. We downloaded a bunch of games before we left home for Mr P to play on and play he did especially while waiting at the airport and on the flight as well.

They are pretty trendy looks wise and come in 5 bright colours.

I find it's the battery that determines how good a gadget is - the last thing you want is to have to hold back so your device lasts the day and you can use it when you need it.

This tablet's battery stood the time test and lasted all day, every day. We didn't shut it down just put it to sleep and it still lasted for days which was really impressive.

There are 2 cameras on the tablet - the rear camera has 5 mega pixels and the front camera (for selfies!) has 2 mega pixels.

The camera also has a few different features including a Time Rewind which takes 31 photos over 3 seconds which ensures you can get at least one good shot with everyone's eyes open and a smile on their face!

This tablet would be perfect for kids and ideal for taking on road trips to keep them amused in the car.

This was my favourite of the two tablets because it was the perfect size to carry around with me it fit in the palm of my hand and I used it to take photos and used the apps for social media and surfing the internet etc.

The Transformer Pad is a tablet with a keyboard, so while it's docked with the keyboard you can use it like a laptop, or you can unclip it and carry it around like a tablet.

It was simple to unclip the tablet from the keyboard so you can alternate between the two when you don't need the keyboard. It is much lighter and easier to carry around than your standard laptop.

It had a bunch of pre-loaded apps which was really useful and heaps of ways to customise it. They come in just two colours - black and white - I really liked the white, the subtle colour made using the keyboard easier.

We downloaded a few movies before leaving home and so glad we did because you had to pay for movies on the cruise ship, so with two sets of earphones and a big 10 inch HD screen we could both watch movies in the comfort of our cabin!

This tablet would suit anyone who needs a keyboard on the go, it's a much more affordable option of a tablet with a keyboard compared to others on the market.

This was Mr P's favourite tablet because he liked to use the keyboard, here he is checking emails from his office with a view on our cabins private balcony as the cruise ship docked in beautiful Sydney harbour! 

Both the MeMO Pad 7 and Transformer Pad are great value tablets and make for fantastic travel companions or Christmas gifts!

You can buy the ASUS tablets from JB-HIFI and Harvey Norman - The MeMO Pad 7 RRP $229 and Transformer Pad with keyboard RRP $429.

I have to say I'm officially converted and would use a tablet over my smart phone any day!

What's your favourite travel companion - laptop, tablet or smart phone?

Disclosure: Thanks ASUS Australia for loaning these tablets for review. I have not received any payment or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Decorating With A Bright And Happy Vibe This Christmas

I put up the Christmas tree and decorated the house the other weekend and love how it instantly transforms the mood at home.

Summer is on it's way. Work shuts down and there's time to relax at home. Catch up with friends and family. There's lots of fun times to be had. It already feels extra special this year because Mr P and I are engaged there's a loved up, warm and fuzzy feeling happening!

Last year was absolute madness because we hosted our very first Christmas lunch for 30 of Mr P and I's family and in a word it was EPIC! 

This year it will be much more relaxed, so relaxed I haven't finished my present shopping yet, but not too many more gifts to buy.

I'm loving lots of colour this year and for the Christmas Tree I have used pink, purple, blue and silver. Every year Mr P tells me our tree is too big and every year as I knock ornaments off as I walk past I say you can never have a big enough Christmas Tree!

Typo have come to the party again with some gorgeous Xmas ornaments this year and I was very chuffed to see my cheeky Typo lightbox quote was featured in the Typo newsletter and social media pages last week!

I did a little DIY project and painted a rusty birdcage with Dulux Duramax Spray Paint in GoGo Blue and filled it with baubles and of course you can't have a birdcage without a a bird! I'll be doing a write up and hosting a giveaway for these gorgeous spray paints from Dulux in the new year, so stay tuned for that!

A collection of my glass domes sitting pretty on my Marguerite Dore plate which took pride of place on my Christmas table last year. 

My house plants have my special ornaments on them, I even have a reindeer that used to poop lollies (yes it's as charming as it sounds!) and I just can't bare to part with it, so each year it finds a new hang out!

How is your home decorated for Christmas this year?

Check out my previous Christmas decorating over here:
2009 - Our first Christmas in Jarrah Jungle
2010 - Christmas when renovation 
2011 - Christmas tree blue and silver
2012 - Christmas tree with pink, purple, blue and silver, Christmas vignetteMerry Mantle
2013 - Christmas tree with pink, purple, blue and silver

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Meeting With A Surveyor - To Subdivide Our Block

After the decision was made to subdivide our block - retain the house at the front and sell the block at the back, we had a meeting with a Surveyor company who was recommended to us by friends.

It took them just a few weeks to draw up the proposed subdivision plan and they have sent out paperwork for us to sign so we can get it submitted before the Christmas break.

I thought that subdivision was done through the local council but it's not, it's done through WAPC which stands for Western Australian Planning.

The surveyor company arrange everything including getting plans drawn up, obtaining all the relevant forms for us to complete, and seek approval from WAPC, the local council, and all the services like water, gas, etc.

The WAPC has 3 months to determine whether they agree to the subdivision and what conditions will be in place and then it will depend on how quickly we can meet those conditions.

The time frame could be 6-9 months from go to whoa to finish the sub-division process, which will be around September 2015.

In the meantime we can start to get the back block ready - first of all we need to pull down our big old rusty patio which has hosted many a party underneath it over the years!

Once the patio is gone which is attached to the Granny Flat, the Granny Flat can be cleared out and we need to find a home for our storage either by a small garden shed or in the garage.

We have been lucky enough to find a crane/truck driver who has offered to take the Granny Flat away for free - this is a win-win for both of us because it won't cost us anything and he can sell it and make some money. It will have to be craned over our house which is both terrifying and exciting all at once!

As much as I love organising and planning renovation projects it's actually a relief to know that the surveyor company is going to handle this project for us it takes the pressure off a bit and leaves me to focus on getting our Jarrah Jungle renovations finished!

Have you used a Surveyor to subdivide land?
How was the experience for you?

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Toilet Turned Powder Room - Finishing Touches

The main work on the toilet renovation finished some time ago and we have been a little slow on adding the finishing touches to the room. 

All it took was a stop into Bunnings on the weekend for the mandatory hot dog and we picked out some fittings for the toilet. 

From the Mondella - Rococo range which is one of the more expensive brands but they look stylish and fit the small space perfectly. We paid $98 for the set of three, not bad for the quality and they come with a 5 year warranty too.

We decided to hang the towel ring from the side of the vanity rather than fit it to the wall because we don't want to take the attention away from the beautiful mosaics running from the vanity up to the ceiling.

We picked out both the towel ring and toilet roll holder because we had a feeling the towel ring was going to be too big .... sure enough it stuck out too much and swamped the little vanity so we ended up using a toilet roll holder instead and will return the towel ring for a refund.

It's the perfect size and nobody will know the difference, well besides you guys and the whole world because I've blogged about it! It holds the hand towel and that's the main thing. The bargain queen in me is also happy because it was a little bit cheaper too!

The toilet roll holder we put on the side wall so that it's hidden from view until you're inside the powder room and after months of having the loo roll sit on the top of the toilet it is so nice to have this fitted!

If only Lexi could show a bit more enthusiasm ....

Tell me is this toilet brush holder not the best thing ever? Fitting it to the wall means the floor is clear to mop and clean without having to move things around. We put it on the side where the drain is and so it's a bit more hidden from view. 

I may even spray paint the frosted glass holder to add a bit of colour and because I don't really like the idea of the brush holder being see through. I will wait and see how it wears!

All that's left to do now to finish the powder room is paint the new door we hung, find a mirror and decide whether to wallpaper the back wall so it ties in with the wall and door we are wallpapering in the laundry which is also part of this room.

I can't wait to do a final reveal and before and after of this Toilet turned Powder Room!

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To see our laundry renovation progress to date check out these posts:

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