Welcome!

Well hello there!

So, if you’ve have had a brief look around you will see that I am a wife, mother of two, part-time legal secretary, interior decoration student, lover of DIY programs and updating our home and a lover of all things organised; whether it be items in the home or life generally.

I  blog weekly, usually on a Monday with topics ranging from how I organise small spaces to toy rooms, menu planning for my family, interior decorating ideas in our home etc.

My goal over time is to complete my interior decoration course (I have until the end of 2017), undertake some training as a professional organiser and then commence my own business as a professional organiser offering an interior decoration service.  Functional, well organised spaces that look pretty!

Let me know if there is something in particular you would like to see or know about, and I’ll see what I can do.

Thanks for coming by and until next time…

Tracey.

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IKEA Catalogue Review 2017

We are away at the moment at a farm stay and I have finally had time to sit down and inspect the 2017 IKEA Catalogue properly. Here are the items I’ll be looking at instore next time I visit. 

Skatteby frames in blue


Vimle lounge in black blue


Behaga range

Billy bookcase in dark blue

Risatorp basket

I’ll also be having a very good look at the PAX wardrobe system as this will be what we place in Mr 4’s room over the next year. 

Have you had a chance to look at the new catalogue?  What are your picks?

Our $9 mini bedroom makeover!

We have had our previous bed spread on our bed since 2014!  This is a long time for me as I usually like to mix things up.

This is what our bedroom looked like before Mr 4 and I hit the shops on Friday morning. 


I can’t remember if I received a catalogue/saw it on Instagram/received an email, but I came across this $9 quilt cover at Big W and wanted to get in store and check it out. 


And whilst I was at it I also wanted to look at these:


So what did I come away with for our master bedroom?

The $9.00 bed spread. I couldn’t believe it. We have a queen bed with king size doona. $9.00 no matter what size cover you are buying. It is a microfibres/polyester blend so no luxurious fabrics here but I feels so lovely and soft!

2 x white euro pillow cases – $5.00 each

2 x white U shape pillow cases – $5.00 each

1 x grey/blue velvet cushion – $7.00

1 x candle – $15.00

Grand total – $51.00

Okay, so the title of this post was a bit click bait-y but I’ve got to get you reading somehow 😉. 

The after?  Well not only do I have one, but two…


I’ve sold this to hubby as a 2 for 1 offer because the quilt cover and pillow cases are double sided!

I purchased this candle which I think looks beautiful. We had to remove it from our bedroom Friday night though because the scent was a little too strong for us.  I’ll probably move it to the side table next to my chair in the lounge room. 


I don’t usually have flowers on my bedside table but I was gifted these at a seminar I went to on Wednesday night. Cute, hey?


So what do you think?  Not bad for $51.00 and really only $36.00 because the candle came out of the room 😜. 

Have you picked a bargain up lately?  Share away. The above quilt cover comes in a few different designs, with blue the colour palette. 

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Tasmania – the gift that keeps on giving. 

In April, Hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with 5 wonderful days in Tasmania. You can read about our trip and what we got up to here and here

We couldn’t have gone on this trip alone if it hadn’t been for Mum-O, my parents and the two aunties stepping in to look after the kids for us. 

As we travelled along the East Coast of Tasmania and inland to Cradle Mountain I popped in at some shops and strolled through Salamanca Markets. I considered items we could get these family members to thank them for having our children, but with certain members on decluttering missions and others with far too many tea towels to count, I didn’t want us to be adding to the clutter. 

We thought about what Tasmania does well and decided to buy some Tasmanian produce to give to our family and cook a Tasmanian themed dinner for them upon our return. 

Now unfortunately life and money got in the way for quite some time. Entertaining isn’t always cheap and with family who have weekend commitments due to work/volunteering etc it took us 5 months but we finally hosted these family members for dinner last Saturday night. 

This is what we served:

Oven baked crumbed Tasmanian Camembert with cranberry sauce. 


Tasmanian salman pie with garlic mash and green beans


Honey and lemon curd tart with blueberries made with Tasmanian stringybark honey. 


I selected Tasmanian Riesling and Tasmanian Apple Cider to serve with the meal. 

The food produce that we brought home for our family included some Tasmanian chocolate coated coffee beans, ginger chocolate, blueberry and raspberry jam and rhubarb syrup. 

Normally when I cook a meal like this, I don’t enjoy it. I don’t know why. My Dad is the same. But this meal, I thoroughly enjoyed!

Fathers Day 2017

Despite still needing to break up our kids fights/arguments, we had a really lovely day on yesterday. Here’s what we got up to. 

Mr 4 was up just after 6am so I took him out to the lounge room to give Hubby a sleep in. At 7am I started cooking up a big breakfast, set the table and prepared the drinks. First the chorizo then the hash browns, bacon, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. I prepared the eggs ready to cook after present opening. 

I grabbed the kids and we headed in to wake Hubby. Mr 4 had completed a questionnaire about his Daddy. Miss 6 made a noughts and crosses game at school and bought some headphones/car charger from the Fathers Day Stall at school. We bought him his favourite chocolates, new PJ’s, dressing gown and Mr 4 even picked out a new outfit for him. 


Eggs were cooked and tea/coffee/hot chocolates made and it was time to tuck in. 


We discussed our options for the day and decided to head out. Our weekends have been spent at home for quite some time due to illness and then doing yard work so it was great to escape for a day. After some googling, Hubby decided we’d go to the Illawarra Fly, somewhere he’s been wanting to do for a really long time. 

We bought our family ticket online for $70 (saving $10 by not buying at Illawarra Fly in person). Because this was a spontaneous decision, we didn’t realise the distance from home and the kids were “starving” upon arrival. We got the kids a snack to “get them through” the walk. 


The kids were really confused as to what you were meant to do here.  What do you mean you just go for a walk and enjoy being in nature?  They did enjoy having an activity to do which was supplied by Illawarra Fly, locating 6 etchings that they could do in their little activity books. 


It’s a 1.5km circuit through rainforest, onto elevated walkways and across two swaying springboard cantilevers suspended 25 metres above the forest floor with Knights Tower (a spiral tower) in the centre taking you 45 metres above the forest floor.


I think it took us 1hr 20mins to complete because we stopped to do all the etchings, look at wildlife, take photographs and enjoy the view. We also stopped to watch the people doing the Zipline Tour. 

After completing the walk we decided we’d head to The Scarborough Hotel for a late lunch. We’ve heard lots of good things about the food here and how wonderfully kid friendly it is and it must be true because there was a big sign up saying if you haven’t booked, the pub is full. Mental note for next time.  Plan B was some scallops and chips at Austinmer Beach. I ordered the food and Hubby and the kids played in the playground at the beach. Despite only ordering a little bit, the fish and chip shop threw in extras taking what was meant to be modest offerings a little further. 


Our final stop was what the kids had been looking forward to all day. Stanwell Tops for a soft serve ice cream and to see if the hang gliders were gliding.  Alas, the wind was blowing in the wrong direction and the ice cream melted way too fast but it was still lovely taking this view in. 


And one final piece of joy?  This sunset as we travelled along Appin Road, heading home. 

How to get through the whole house being sick. 

It started last Tuesday in the office. I was freezing and despite putting my cardigan on and drinking tea, I couldn’t get warm. I made it to the end of the day and by the time I got home I felt terrible and had a fever. Thankfully hubby beat me home and had picked up one kid and had a start on dinner. I hopped in a nice hot bath, pyjamas, dressing gown, slippers and onto the lounge under a nice warm blanket. 

The ensuing days were spent in bed or on the lounge, only going out to see our doctor or picking up my daughter from school.  Thursday was a tough day. My hubby had compulsory training at work and this was when I felt my worst. Miss 6 and Mr 4 were now both sick and home from School/Daycare. Pyjama day it was. Thankfully, Miss 6 can operate the TV and I unashamedly used the TV as a babysitter. This got us through to nap time when I sent us all to bed at 1pm.  Hubby came home as soon as he could which was whilst we were all sleeping. He needed to rest too, he was getting sick. Neither of us felt like cooking but Hubby was well enough to go and shop for some basics, stock up on Codral and Panadol and to get takeaway on his way home. 

Friday all four of us were home. I was starting to feel better. I was sick of the TV being on so it was time for us to head outside. At first just at home and then to a local duck pond after nap/rest time. 

So, my tips to get you through this awful time?

1. Be as organised as you can in advance. 

We always make sure we have Codral/Panadol/Nurofen in the cupboard. This will save any late night dashes to the pharmacy.  Surplus tissues are also a good idea. Coral all these items into one container and keep either nearby or in a central location so you/your partner knows where things are in the middle of the night. 


2. Try to keep on top of your routines, but cheat or do the bare minimum.  

I had no energy to be hanging out washing on the line, so I only laundered the clothes that could go in the dryer at first and then washed the rest and hung on hangers on an airer inside. The first load was washed on Wednesday but didn’t get folded until Sunday when Hubby and the kids felt well enough to do it.  It meant we didn’t spend all day Sunday catching up on the washing. We only had to fold it all. 

We weren’t that hungry and when we were it was pretty much just tea and toast. This helped with little to no washing up and we just had to load the dishwasher.  When I did have washing up to do, I left it til I felt well enough and did it then. 


I need clear visual spaces around me to be able to relax. The kids had pillows and blankets all over the lounge room. I got them to help me for a couple of minutes before dinner to tidy up the lounge room so that I could relax again. Similarly, when I got up in the morning, I quickly tidied the bed covers, threw out any dirty tissues from overnight and took any dirty cups with me when I went down to the kitchen.

3. Shower and dress

Wednesday I had to dress for visiting the doctor and picking up my daughter. Thursday was a pyjama day. Come Friday I needed to wash my hair and get dressed. This certainly made me feel better.  I wanted to feel very comfortable though so I opted for an outfit of ponte pants, t-shirt, cardigan, scarf and slippers.  Dressy enough for a visit to the duck pond but comfortable for time on the lounge or in bed. 

4. Food

I made sure that there were snacks the kids could easily access. We had heaps of berries they could easily reach in the fridge and the fruit bowl was on the bench.  Prepare meals to suit how you’re feeling. We had lots of tea and toast and soup. 


5. Bedding

Try to change your pillow slips daily and wash your sheets when you are feeling well enough. 

6. Delegate

If other people in your household are well, get them to hep out. You need to be feeling better asap so rest up and ask others for help. 

Overall

The only way you are going to get better is if you rest up.  Do as little as possible. You will be better faster and back on top of thinks in no time. 

When you are feeling better, give the house a good clean, open the windows, go from room to room disenfecting door knobs and light switches, benches and bathrooms. 

Have you and your family gotten sick lately?  What are your tips to help the household get through it?  

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The story of the travelling pork roast. 

We are very fortunate that we live close to both sides for families. This means on a Sunday night you will find us at Mum O’s house enjoying a Sunday night dinner.

Last Sunday night Mum O cancelled dinner as she was going to be away and wasn’t sure what time she would be back. I decided I was going to cook a pork roast, complete with crackling, and roast veggies.

Hubby and Miss 6 did the grocery shopping on Saturday morning and purchased everything we needed. Sunday morning I dried out the rind and returned to the fridge to continue drying out.

Once we got back from Hubby’s football game I pre-heated the oven to 240, boiled the kettle, pouree it over the pork, dried the pork, lathered it with olive oil and covered the pork with salt flakes.  I wanted crackling!!!


I decided to watch a Facebook video I’d been meaning to watch whilst the oven came up to temperature. As I watched I thought I saw a flickering light out of the corner of my eye. I then thought maybe the fan from the oven was blowing the tea towel on the oven and returned to my video after checking what temp the oven was at – 200. Ok – not long to go. 

I the saw more flickering and decided to keep my eye on the oven. Yep!  The oven was sparking and then the temp started dropping!  My oven died right when I was cooking a roast!!!  

Plan B – take roast to Mum O’s and cook it there!  So my baking tray and I headed off in the car with my laptop and diary to do some work whilst it cooked and some “quiet time” from the kids. Win/win!

Mum O had just arrived home so once I had her ok to intrude, in the roast went. After all my efforts getting the piece of meat ready the crackling didn’t crackle!  Off it came and under the grill it went. Came up a little burnt but tasty enough. 


Once it was all cooked, I grabbed a towel and took my roast home again!


Did I enjoy it – sure did. But now we need to decide whether to repair our oven or purchase a new one.  Should I cook a roast for the first meal in our new oven should we go that route?

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, please give it a like. If you have anything to say, leave a comment, I’d love to chat. If you think it would be of benefit to someone, please share. 

Just what the Doctor ordered…

Ever since the school bell rang at 2.50pm on the last Friday of Term 2, I was dreaming of today. The only day in the school holidays where we were going to be able to stay home in our pyjamas all day. And I mean all day, showering and putting on a clean pair of pyjamas. 

The kids woke early so I set them up with some morning telly and headed back to my warm bed. We then ate breakfast at around 9am. 

10am saw the kids crack open Connect Four and then we all played The Game of Life. Mr 4 lost interest in this one. I opted to live my opposite life. No marriage. College education and career as a Rocket Scientist and kid-free. Purchased my dream country home – the only part of the way I played the game today that I would love to do in real life lol!


Lunch saw us indulge in a cheese platter. So yummy!


Mr 4 and I headed off to our beds. He had a lovely long nap. I was going to nap too but I “accidentally” binge watched the balance of The Handmaid’s Tale – whoops. 
We reconvened for a game of Monopoly Jnr. A little tanty from Mr 4 because he wanted a “Chance” card 🙄. 


I tried a new recipe tonight for dinner. It came up on the Aldi Facebook page recently and it had me at garlic + chicken + cream. It was delicious. I served it with rice because despite telling our kids thousands of times that mashed potato is just mashed up chips, they still won’t eat it.  Here’s a link to the recipe

Today took a little planning. When I said it was the only day we could have a pyjama day, I meant it. I’ve worked through the holidays so we were out the door by 7am on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday. The Thursdays were taken with plans already and last Friday we had swimming lessons still for Mr 4. Swimming for Miss 6 and Mighty Kickers for Mr 4 on Saturdays and football for Hubby on the Sundays.  I was determined to keep today free. 

I was unexpectantly home this last Wednesday as Mr 4 had a tummy bug. I cleaned the house and did all the washing.  As I was moving between tasks I was thinking to myself how grateful I would be on Friday, having all this done. Nurturing the house on Wednesday so it could nurture me and my family on Friday. I was grateful and our home certainly nurtured us. 

We’ve showered and put on our clean pyjamas and the kids will be going to bed shortly. There have been tantrums and minor injuries and the usual tears that come with sibling relationships but there have also been lots of cuddles, love and laughter shared today too. And that has been nourishment for this tired Mumma’s soul!

Have you managed a pyjama day lately?  Was it really needed/overdue?  Tell me what you love doing on a pyjama day. 

PS – watch The Handmaid’s Tale through SBS On Demand – wonderful series!

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The next generation…

Miss 6 “I wish my bedroom looked like yours, Mummy.”

Me “Why?”

Miss 6 “Because your room looks so tidy all the time and mine looks messy all the time.”

Well as I am sure you’ll guess, my tidy/organised/decluttered heart of mine nearly exploded. This was my first “client” to practice patience and understanding on! This was my moment to shine – okay – getting carried away lol!

I asked Miss 6 to look at me. I wanted to commence our “consultation” stat before the moment passed. I wanted to pass on some wisdom. I wanted Miss 6 to know this…

“This is your room. This is your space. This space should be a reflection of you and who you are. If you do not like something, then it shouldn’t be here. It shouldn’t be in this room. Even if Mummy/Daddy/Grandparents/Aunties/Uncles/Friends bought it for you. If you do not like it, then it does not stay.”

Growing up, I was pretty much allowed to have my room as I wanted it, but I wasn’t allowed to just throw things away if I didn’t like them, especially if one of the people mentioned above had bought it for me. Mum kept so much of my stuff from my childhood and handed it all over when I moved out of home. Most of it has been discarded. Some of it is sitting in my roof waiting to be dealt with. I don’t want this for my children. 


I wanted Miss 6 to know that she doesn’t need to feel guilty about discarding items. If they don’t bring her joy, then it’s time for them to go. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from reading Marie Kondo’s books. 

So, we started. We gathered all her soft toys. She wanted to move most of these to the playroom. We pulled everything off her dressing table and wall shelves. I grouped like with like and she chose which rocks/sea shells/necklaces/bracelets/craft items etc etc that she wanted to keep. 


We then gave everything a wipe over and started placing everything back. I also let her decide where things were to go, only making suggestions if it was an item her brother may try to break and suggesting it go up high. 


She is now very proud of her room and gave her brother a tour when he woke from  his nap. 

Do you take this approach with your kids?  Had success?  Do you think this may be an approach you’ll try?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all parenting/wifying/studying/working at the moment. The housework has not been at the top of my to-do list. But this takes its toll on me and I couldn’t ignore it anymore today. So, some more before/after shots for you 😲😲😲


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The Man Cupboard

Hello!  It’s been a couple of weeks, but I’m back again. 

It was the Hubby’s birthday last week and I had been thinking for a while as to what I/the kids could get him. It then dawned on me that I rarely use the desk in the lounge room anymore preferring to either work in my studio or home admin on the lounge or dining table. I decided to remove the desk and shelves and buy my man a cupboard, going halves with Mum-O. The cupboard compliments the other already in use in the lounge room. It is from IKEA and is from the Liatorp series. 


I took the day off work (so sneaky – Hubby thought I’d gone to work and I had to tell him white lies all day!) and got Dad round to help me construct the cupboard. 2 hours later the cupboard was built and Dad headed off home to let me get on with making it look pretty. 


Hubby doesn’t really collect anything now, but in his younger years he collected Midori Illusion Shakers, Jim Beam anything, Ford items, Coca Cola items, Manchester United items and Converse items. 


I started out with the middle shelf as the petrol pump at the back was the tallest item to be decorated around. I then purchased my Hubby the Ford book for his birthday and used a combination of symmetry and height to display the balance of the items. 

On the top shelf I placed his Red Bull collection and some miscellaneous items, again utilising the height of each item to determine the layout. To the right I placed a photo of him in his current football (soccer) uniform and some photos of him in his heyday.  I was having trouble getting his medallion to stand up so used some 3M strips to hang it on the back of the cupboard. 


The next shelf down I placed his Midori Illusion Shakers – collected from night clubs circa 1998. I decided to dress this up with a framed Cheers sign, cocktail glasses from the kitchen and we bought him a cocktail recipe book. 


The shelf below the Ford items houses his Jim Beam collection which will be a growing collection as he still likes to drink this today. I again adopted a mixture of symmetry and height to display these items. 


Overall, Hubby was excited to see this when he got home from work, thrilled to have his items in the lounge room again, and shocked I’d managed to trick him into thinking I’d been at work all day 😀!


My tips for creating vignettes/shelf displays:

  1. Odd numbers work well. I don’t know why, they just look good. 
  2. Vary the height of items, working from tallest at the back to shortest at the front. 
  3. Stick to a theme. 
  4. Less is more but if going with more, consider layers/textures. 
  5. Use colour in your decor items to blend in/compliment the colours already used in the room. 
  6. Consider a level of symmetry. 

Have you redecorated a room in your house lately?  Tell me all about it!

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Overwhelmed. Some things I know. 

On 4 May I was involved in a minor car accident. I was fully stopped to turn into our street and a car rear-ended my car.

 

Whilst I have no physical or psychological injury from the accident something has changed in me. I have been highly emotional and more tired than usual. 

No, I am not pregnant! Lol.  Maybe it’s a moon cycle/stars aligning or not aligning thing. Who knows. 

There have been many tears shed in the last month over various things. Some minor that would normally have minimal impact on me. So to combat this unusually emotionally high period I have tried to keep things simple and do some basic things I like/enjoy or have needed to do. 

It started with a full body massage two Saturday’s after the accident. I always hold stress in my back from my shoulders all the way down to my bottom. I was sore. So sore. I cried from the pain whilst the massage was taking place. The lightest touch hurt. I returned home to an empty house. I had a long soak in the bath and then went to bed with a hot water bottle, anti-inflammatories and the TV series, The Queen (very good!). I pretty much stayed here for the balance of the day. 


Tea. Tea is so good. It can be invigorating. It can be calming. It is something that I make as a habit. It is also something I make to spoil myself. The ones out of habit tend to be tea bags in a coffee cup. The ones I make to spoil myself are usually loose leaf teas in a tea pot with a special mug/tea cup and saucer and a little jug of milk. I try to take the time to sit and really enjoy it. 


Declutter. Our house is pretty good at the moment. So, I’ve been working my bottom off in the office to get usual work done asap and then I’ve been turning my attention to archiving files and turfing old briefs. Getting rid of the clutter. So good. No one else seems to care, but it makes me feel better. 

Reading. I haven’t read much for myself lately but I’ve been reading short chapter books with my daughter. Her reading is coming along so beautifully, she’ll be reading solely to me without help soon. I can’t wait. 


Kicking a ball around. Fridays are days for my son and I. I will miss these when he starts school maybe next year, if not, definately the year after. After swimming lessons we have short window before lunch and nap time to kick a ball around outside.

 

My husband. He truly is my best friend and my biggest support. He has held me when I’ve cried. Listened to me ramble on. Taken the kids when I’ve needed time alone or time to study on the weekends. 

My other best friend. She’s taken my calls when I’ve rung. Sent me motivational text messages. Held me when I cried. (Gosh I’ve been emotional).  She is amazing. 

Keep things simple. Unfortunately for Mr now 4, his birthday has fallen during this time. He was undecided about what he wanted to do for his birthday and settled on a party at home. I kept it very simple. One trip to Big W for decorations. One trip to Spotlight for balloons. One trip to the cake shop for fondant.  Two grocery shops to split the cost over two pay periods. Hubby took on the entertainment and outdoor tidy up.  I did the food and cleaning inside. Mum-O offered to also do some nibbles. It was a very easy and relaxed affair. Mr 4 had a great time. We got to speak to the guests. It was a great afternoon. Just don’t let him near the hot-waxy candles!


Take offers of help. If people offer, accept graciously. People do genuinely want to help. When I offer, I mean it. We are having friends for dinner this Saturday. They offered to bring something. I would usually have said ‘no thank you, but on this occasion I’ve asked them to bring a red wine to go with the beef ragu I intend making. My knowledge of wine is limited, especially red wine. They hold knowledge here. Now I won’t be apologising for the wine and I’m sure it will complement our meal perfectly. 

Take time. I am an introvert. I need time to sit and be alone with my thoughts. I can’t function well and be all that I want to be unless I have that time. This past weekend has seen me out Friday and Saturday nights. Thankfully both Saturday and Sunday during the day were quiet days and allowed me to recharge. It also meant the kids got to hang at home, create dance routines, play with the new toys, rest etc. 

I’ve probably rambled a bit too long.  I guess in short, I am trying to take things easy and be kind to myself as I go through this phase. There are no new organising jobs at home at the moment. My assignments are progressing a little slowly at the moment.  I really must submit one this week. There may or may not be a new post next week. We’ll see. I will report back. 

Tracey xx

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