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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.

I'm throwing the Baby Shower for one of my best friends Mrs V and I'm so excited for her next journey in life being a Mum. I'm helping to decorate and design the nursery, have searched the op shops for must read pregnancy books (like Up The Duff a $3 find and Tori Spelling's Motherhood for .50c - Bargain Queen strikes again!) and I can't stop buying itty bitty outfits for the little one. 
So what theme did I pick for this Baby Shower?

Well, to start with I thought about the Mum to be and what she loves ..... She's a bit like me and not into the cutsie wootsie baby stuff either and gender neutral as they're not sure if it's a boy or a girl. She is extremely well travelled and has grown up and lived in different countries which is why the theme of vintage travel really seemed to suit this Baby Shower.

Once I have a theme I can get creative and just run with it, design the invites, hit the shops for the party essentials and decorations to set the party scene. It's just like with home - I love the decorating part the best!

Here's my Pinterest inspiration for a vintage themed Baby Shower .....

Everyone say awwwwwww isn't it cute! But not too cutsie wootsie right? I think it's cute in a cool kind of way!!

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen my party finds and craft projects so far .... if you don't follow me you can find me here!

Are there any tips I should know about for throwing a Baby Shower?

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[Images 1 and 2 my own. All images via my Pinterest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Courtyard Project - The Pros And Cons Of 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.

Basically, we have 2 choices for the fence slats - either Wood or Metal.

Some of the metal samples against our wooden jarrah floor boards

Here are some pros and cons I've come up with to help us with our decision on Wood Vs Metal:
* It's cheaper (half the price of metal)
* I love the look of natural wood once it's been stained

* It will need to be stained before we install it
* It will need ongoing maintenance to protect it from the weather which will cost time and money over the years
* It may weather and break down over the years
* It won't match our garage door which is metal look in jarrah

Metal (Aluminium)

* It doesn't need any maintenance, which means we can spend our time drinking wine in the courtyard instead of staining wood
* It won't weather, age or break it will always look shiny and new
* It will match our garage door which is also made from metal (although the colour samples are slightly different)
* It's about twice the price of wood
* It only comes in long lengths so there may be more wastage than wood which comes in heaps of different lengths

So the way I see it if we spend more money now we will get a look without any maintenance now or down the track OR we can save some pennies and get the wood and then curse every year when we remember we have to maintain and stain it. 

The wood will also look different against the metal garage door which I'm a little worried about it.

Whatever material we decide we are going to buy the DIY kits which means we cut them to size and install ourselves.

We might need to buy a mitre saw to do the job but the money we would spend on a tradesman to do it, will essentially pay for the saw and add another tool to the shed. So if Mr P is happy with that and let's face it he'll be doing the hard work while I'm inside making sandwiches .... if he's happy I'm happy!

What do you think is the better choice - Wood or Metal?

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

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[Images 1 + 2 my own. Other images Pinterest 1 + 2Aliwood 1 + 2]

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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.

Here are my 10 tips on starting a book club to get you going:-

1. Place an ad ... Use one of the free sites like Gumtree or your local online newspaper in your area to place an ad. Keep the ad simple and to the point so you get like minded members in your Book Club ie: Do you want serious literary companions or mixed genre readers? Do you want a mixed sex group? Does age matter? Include your suggestions for meet up venues, time of the day, frequency etc.

2. Arrange a meet up and decide how your club will work ... The first meet up is bound to be a bit nerve racking but it will be worth it so persevere! This is the time to set some ground rules, decided on locations and times, how you'll pick your books, and most importantly what you'll name your club. Read on for more details on these.
Book Review

3. How will you stay in touch? .... Once you have your Book Club members, set up a group for your club on Facebook. This is a great way for everyone to keep in touch and so much easier than sending emails to everyone. My Book Club group is private so only us members can see and post to it, we create events for our meet ups with details of the venue and most importantly what book we are to read that month. The Facebook group also has an ongoing list of all the books we've read and the book scores so we can keep track of what we've read and what's coming up.

4. What's in a name? .... One of the most important decisions is to name your Book Club! Hopefully, you can do this after your first meet up as a joint effort. My Book Club is called The Tuesday Girls because we meet on the last Tuesday of the month .... I know pretty clever hey! I love having a Book Club name it feels like we're in a secret exclusive group which I guess we kind of are!
Book Review
5. Set a regular day/time to meet ... If it's the same day and time each month (or every 6 weeks, however long you need to read the books and want to meet) then it's easy to remember and everyone plans well ahead so there's no excuses not to come! We find a mid week evening meet up easiest as most of us work during the day and the weekends are usually busy with other things so this suits us well.

6. What location and venue will you meet at? .... Some Book Clubs chose to meet at their homes but us girls like to go out for a meal at a trendy restaurant close to the City. In the beginning we met at cafes for coffee but we soon evolved to meeting in restaurants for dinner and a glass of wine and Book Club banter. We alternate turns at choosing the location so whomever is picking the book that month also chooses and books the venue.

Some of our favourite Book Club venues in Perth which suits our group and lively conversation are: Tarts Cafe (book the private boardroom!), The Brisbane Hotel, Five Bar and The Cabin.
Book Review

7. What genre of books will you read? ... We take turns in picking a book to read for the month  and we don't have any set genres and are open to all types of books from a biography to chick lit. The only rule is you can't pick a book you've read before, that way everyone is reading a new book and nobody knows the ending! We also try to pick books that are easily available at the library, although some prefer to buy theirs online, in bookstores and some of us use e-readers. It has pushed all of us to read books we normally wouldn't choose and that is one of the best things about being in a Book Club.

8. How will you discuss/rate/review the books? ... Will you have questions or a general discussion? Will you rate the books? Will you post your reviews online?

For our Book Club the person who picked the book will bring questions to ask (usually found on the net) and we all have a discussion about the book. We also give the book a vote out of 10  and the votes are tallied up over the year and the winner with the highest votes has their dinner paid for at the next Book Club meet up. This just adds a bit of fun and friendly competition to pick a fantastic book .... I won last year's book pick with this thrilling read. I also write my book reviews for all the books here on the blog and share them over at Good Reads.
Book Review

9. Do you need to set some guidelines? ... We have a rule that if you miss 3 meet ups in a row we'll find out if they still want to be a part of the Book Club and if not, we'll find someone else to join. This is because we always have a friend or colleague that's keen to join our awesome Book Club and we want to give those that are enthusiastic the chance. We have a maximum of 10 members which makes for highly engaging meet ups with different views and opinions, but there isn't too many of us that we don't each get a turn to talk and share what we loved or didn't like about our latest read.

10. Have fun! Here are some alternate Book Club meet up ideas that we do as well just for fun ....

* Swap a book for a movie night ... If you read a book that's also a movie why not have a movie night. It's really interesting to compare the two and everyone will have an opinion on whether the book or movie was better! We'll watch the movie at someones house and everyone brings drinks and nibbles to share. Some examples of books we've read and movie nights we've had are: Bridget Jones Diary, Water For Elephants, Chocolat and One Day.

* Break for the Holiday season .... Put the books down over the holiday season and have yourself some fun and festivities instead! As December is such a busy time of year we have that month free from books to read and re-commence our Book Club meet up in the New Year. In lieu of reading a book in December we have a Christmas Party instead, over the years we've had dinner and dancing, a wine cruise, and a weekend at the Casino. We also do a Secret Santa (gifts are usually book related!) and it's a great way to wind down from our year of books and reading.
Book Review
Book Clubs use to be seen as a group of intellectuals having serious meet ups to discuss the characters in a book ... nowadays they are a cool club to belong too and an excuse to socialise and gossip about whatever is happening in your own life whilst having a new and interesting book to read and discuss too.

Do you belong to a Book Club?
If not, are you going to start your own Book Club now? I hope so!

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[All images via my book review posts, 1st image my own]

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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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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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