Welcome!

Well hello there!

I’m Tracey.  I am a qualified interior decorator with a passion for decluttering and organising.  I am a DIY lover, a legal secretary, wife, mum to two kids and so much more.

I have created a business offering various interior decorating services online and in person to suit all budgets.

As mentioned above, I have a passion for decluttering and organising.  Whilst I do not have any qualifications in this regard, yet, I will soon!  I am still offering various services in this field because I truly want to help people to get rid of the clutter and transform their home into something beautiful.

Let me help you create a home that is calm, organised and beautiful!

 

Advertisements

Easter Sunday 2018

Happy Easter!

I hope that you’re reading this in your comfy spot with a nice cup of tea and a chocolate or hot cross bun!

I thought I’d give you a “behind the scenes look” into how I prepare for our Easter Sunday Brunch we enjoy with our families.

I had intended to get a lot done on Friday but the heat, procrastination and distraction of setting up a tent and a practice sleep-out before our real trip in a few weeks saw most of it happen on Saturday.

Friday:

  • Prepare menu
  • Write shopping list

Saturday:

  • Write a to do list. I absolutely love my LBD planner from Leanne Baker/Padtastic (sold out for 2018 but orders will be opening soon for 2019 planners) for mapping out my days/lists
  • Tidied
  • Dusted
  • Cleaned bathroom/toilet
  • Grocery shop
  • Setting up of table outside
  • Getting out all plates/bowls/cutlery/glassware/cups and saucers and coffee mugs/serving platters/serving utensils
  • Getting out all tablecloths/napkins/table decorations
  • Getting out appliances such as coffee percolator/hand mixer and frying pans
  • Vacuuming/mopping
  • Relaxing bath

Sunday:

  • Wake up early to dress the table (I would ordinarily do this the night before but as we were hosting outside I couldn’t do that this time)
  • Ensure dishwasher is empty ready to load dishes as soon as each meal is over
  • Prep fruit and whip cream, refrigerate
  • Cook bacon, mushroom, roast cherry tomatoes and toast, keep warm. Cook eggs just before eating
  • Grill hot cross buns and keep warm
  • Reheat crepes and keep warm
  • Take photographs for blog
  • Get dressed and do make up
  • Welcome family enjoy the savoury portion of brunch
  • Clean away dishes/set up the Easter Egg Hunt
  • Enjoy Easter Egg Hunt with the kids
  • Bring out the sweet portion of brunch
  • Relax with family
  • Load dishwasher/wash up/launder tablecloths
  • Pack away tables and chairs

I know this sounds a lot of work but my husband and I are a really good team, we get it done quickly, we pre-do as much as possible so we can enjoy the company of our family when they’re here and we absolutely love it, especially now with our own kids and our niece and nephew.

Happy Easter from the Oates’!

Do you take time to celebrate Easter with family and friends? Tell me what you’ve been up to!

Car Organisation

I spoiled the car today! Full tank of fuel and then a detail whilst I wandered through the homewares and furniture stores nearby. I also washed some items we keep in the car and it dawned on me that I haven’t shown you how I organise it.

Yes, the car gets organised too and it had been way too long between a tidy up, wash and vacuum. She also has a name, Mazzy (genius name I know for a Mazda but we got her when we were very sleep deprived new parents so please don’t judge 🤣).

In the glove box I store our car manual, some pens, the bracket for our iPad holder and an old pair of glasses. I wear contact lenses a lot but sometimes I might lose one and need to put my glasses on to drive home.

In the boot I store quite a few more items.

We have:

  • Foldable chairs.
  • Bucket and spade set x 2 for visits to the beach.
  • 2 x black towels. These are great as blankets for the kids in the car, to mop up messes, to be used for our dog after dog park trips. So good!
  • Picnic blanket for spontaneous and planned picnics.

You call also see that grey box there. It holds:

  • 2 x hats from Kmart for spontaneous park visits.
  • Cleaning and glass wipes.
  • First Aid Kit.
  • 2 x ponchos.
  • Umbrella.

I try and get the kids to help me keep the car tidy by taking everything out of the car, each time we exit. This doesn’t always work and I’ll come out with a rubbish bag occasionally for the balance of any items.

Doesn’t she look all pretty now!

Oh and for anyone wanting to now, Mazzy is a Mazda 6 Turbo Diesel Wagon, 2011 model. We absolutely love her and I can’t see us moving to another manufacturer, we lover her that much!

So, do you have regular routine with your car? Is it something you keep on top of let out of control like I do sometimes?

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. 

Getting Organised for 2018 – Launch Pad

Last week I shared our Command Centre. Today I share our Launch Pad.

Do you find yourself trying to find your car keys/purse/wallet/phone/bag/shoes etc whilst also trying to get out the door in the morning? No fun at all! Our Launch Pad came about when I was preparing to go back to work after having Miss 6. I wanted somewhere to store all our bags so that we weren’t trying to find them when rushing out the door in the morning. It was a great place for storing the nappy bag/daycare bag etc and has evolved from there.

This is our Launch Pad.

This is the place where we store all the stuff we need to get out the door in the morning – bags, sunglasses, items we need to take with us etc.

Here is my handbag, our daughters epipen, a hat for hubby, an umbrella for Master 4, a plastic bag with my daughters old school bottoms to give to a friend for her daughter this year and a plastic bag of bags which we give to or daycare centre for rubbish/dirty nappies.

All the sunglasses, a spare epipen and a selfie stick – don’t judge, they have their purpose 😜.

<<<<
is cupboard I store any items that we need to give/return to other people. I have a few items in here at the moment but they should all be dispersed by Australia Day. On the top shelf I store the kids swim bags, ready to go. The kids lessons are very early on their respective days so it's good to know they are there ready to go when you're rushing out the door!

<<<<
e other side of the cupboard are the kids school bags. Master 4 still goes to daycare so his sheets and hat are in the bag, ready to go. We just add his drink bottle before we walk out the door. Miss 6 is heading into year 2. Miss 6 is responsible for emptying out her lunchbox and drink bottle and putting the bag in the cupboard. All we need to do in the morning is re-add a full lunch box and drink bottle and head out the door. The box at the bottom has our picnic rug, umbrella's and gloves ready to go.

<<<<
mer addition is this great bag from IKEA. It has all our swimmers and towels in it and clean underwear for once we're out of the water. This means we can head out the door at a moments notice for a trip to the beach or Mum O's house!

Our Launch Pad has removed the stress of trying to locate items when rushing out the door in the morning. I catch a train three days a week and am conscious of the time we are heading out the door and no one wants to start the day frazzled and leaving their loved ones in a grumpy mood. The added bonus is it eases the mental load knowing that everything is here where it should be and hubby knows where it all is too, thus sharing the load with someone else.

Do you have a Launch Pad in your home? Have I inspired you to create one?

Getting organised for 2018 – Command Centre

I don’t know about you but I feel like 2018 is only just starting today as today is my first day back at work.

I thought I would share with you what tools I use to organise my family. This week I am sharing our command centre

What is a command centre? It’s a place that each member of the family can access to find out information on what’s happening.

This is our command centre.

It is located in our kitchen. It is in a space we access everyday. I think this is important or information won’t be seen and the area will have been set up for no reason.

Let’s take a tour through our command centre.

The “hello” sign was purchased from Target about three or four years ago.

The cork board is from Office Works. We use this for items without magnets.

The magnetic board is also from Office Works.

You all know how important family is to me. Whilst this photo needs updating as my niece was in her Mum’s tummy, I love looking up and seeing everyone there. The frames used here are from IKEA and are the Fiskbo frames.

Next is the “What’s for dinner” frame. This is in the Fiskbo frame and I write on the perspex with a whiteboard marker which rubs off each week. This is a great tool as if Hubby gets home before me, he knows what to cook for dinner, without having to call and ask me.

The empty space there is where we hang out daughter’s homework plastic envelope. It was annoying me being on the kitchen bench or dining room table when she was in Kindergarten so I re-jigged our command centre to make room for it. Easily accessible and easy for her to put away. Worked for two years so far!

Below these are the kids chore charts. These were $5 each from Kmart.

I wanted another piece of pretty amongst the mundane. A simple few words in Microsoft in different fonts did the job!

The pencil holder holds a pen, permanent marker and whiteboard marker. There is usually a pair of scissors here too.

And finally a plastic sleeve for all things school. I store the school term calendar, any permission notes, school reports, certificates etc. I clean it out at the end of each term. I keep some envelopes and post it notes here for letters to the teacher/lunch orders.

I don’t really like the Dyson stick vacuum living here, but it is the most handy spot for us to grab it and do a quick vacuum around the kitchen and dining room. I think I’ll commit and get Hubby to hang the bracket for it here.

Some people have a calendar with their command centres. I use a diary and all dates are entered into that. Will share my diary in the coming weeks. My diary is usually found on the kitchen bench. I’m not a fan of this and am thinking of hanging a shelf on the command centre wall to put it on. Other items you might like to include in your command centre are a clock, key holder, charging station for phones and other devices and a plastic sleeve for takeaway menus.

Here are some images from Pinterest that may provide more inspiration for you.

So tell me, has this been helpful? Do you already have a command centre? Is it working for you? Will you set one up if you don’t already have one? Let me know!

Christmas 2017

And so it was Christmas! I can’t believe it’s all over.

Christmas Eve saw us entertaining my side of the family for a traditional Dutch Christmas.

I enjoyed decorating immensely.

It all started with a swim in the pool.

We then re-dressed and sat down to a prawn cocktail for entree.

Followed by platters of meats, cheeses, breads, nut etc.

We then took some time away from the table to open presents! I played Mrs Clause and never have the kids ever been so attentive!

We then enjoyed some Dutch sweets of oliebollen, speculaas slice and poffertjes.

We got the kids to bed by 9pm and cleaned up, did final Christmas/Santa things and headed to beds ourselves.

Thankfully the kids slept until 7am! Santa came and we spent a lovely slow morning opening and playing with our gifts. I got a nightie from Peter Alexander and an iPhone arm band. I surprised hubby with tickets to LIVE – they’re coming back in March.

Mum and Dad came for a leftovers lunch. Very casual and relaxed and took no time to put together.

Do you like to enjoy a Christmas Day siesta? I do!

I just love my dress! A maxi from Boohoo.

It was then time to head to MumO’s for Christmas presents and dinner. Doesn’t my MIL and SIL do a great job at decorating too?!?!

Dinner was of course delicious and we were all very spoiled!

We took the kids for a short drive to look at some Christmas lights around local suburbs and then bed.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be treasured by me forever. I loved spending time with my niece and nephew, having fun in the pool and opening presents, lovingly preparing meals for family and just spending time together.

I’m hoping you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to celebrating the bringing in of a new year xxx

🎶It’s the most wonderful time…

It’s December! It’s Christmas time! It’s summer-time!

Whilst I love setting Christmas up on 1 December, the day saw me out most of the day so 2 December it was.

We are fortunate to have some storage in our roof space, accessible by an attic ladder. This is where we store our Christmas decorations. Quite heavy to get up and down, but great for 11 months of the year!

I always like to clean the house before I start decorating. I also needed to move some furniture around in order to put up the tree. The blue wingback chair had to go to my sons room, but fear not, I have been able to create another nook for the festive season. In my kitchen of all places. My sons chair came down to the kitchen and I placed the lamp and footstool from my nook there and wallah!

I’m actually really liking this space. It’s great of a morning when the kids are sitting at the kitchen bench eating breakfast and I’m making school lunches. Once I’m done, I’ve been sitting here to eat my breakfast and still able to chat to them. It’s not the most comfy seat, but it’s working as a concept. (AC – you need to do this on your kitchen!)

So anyway, back to decorating. It is really important to take the time to fluff your tree. It helps to give the tree it’s fullest look. Once we set up our tree, we then put the fairy lights on. The kids were busy setting up their own trees for their bedrooms (a bit of fun, which means I don’t need pink on the family one 😜) so I got to do the main one. It’s been a few years since I’ve done it alone and there was no fighting – mildly nice…I present, The Tree:

I wanted to go with a basket for the base of the tree this year instead of a tree skirt. I’m really liking it!

<

his year I purchased some reindeer's from Kmart as well as the North Pole box to store all our Christmas books.

I wanted to decorate the kitchen bench too. We are not a religious household but I have wanted a nativity scene for as long as I can remember. I managed to get one in the post Christmas sale at Bed Bath n Table (they don’t have this exact one, but do have a few options this year) for a great price last year. I placed a battery operated tea light inside and placed the figurines according to the picture on the box. I placed the nativity scene on a cake stand and a little village below ($2 each mini snow globe from Kmart) with some baubles and the large battery operated star light (bought from The Base Warehouse last year, I think).

<

t our entry I placed the pine cones I collected and spray painted last Christmas. This year I've added some gumnuts from our Western Australian gumtree.

<

n our front door, I have just added two stars to our usual front door decoration.

On our console table I have placed our tree with ornaments collected from our honeymoon in the UK/Europe and lights with our initials. (Note hubby still needs to decorate this tree so what you see here is how this tree is usually styled all year round on our kitchen island).

<

nd finally, our fireplace. I popped in at Spotlight and bought some navy fabric to cover the artwork we usually have hanging here to provide a good contrast to the directional tree shaped from Big W. The kids stocking are hung here too.

<

e are hosting my family this year and I am so excited! It's my first time! I finish work on 20 December so I will have plenty of time to plan and execute a lovely evening.

Have you got all your decorations out? Do you host Christmas? Any tips for me?

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. 

The Kids Cubby House

One of the things on our to-do list has been to fix the kids cubby house.

We purchased the cubby house for the kids Christmas present in 2014.  Brand new.  Cost around $2,000.  I am not going to recommend the company because despite following their instructions, the timber rotted in the floor boards and at the base of the walls and the roof was also faulty.

This is what it all looked like at the time.  Many hours were spent painting.  Primer and then 3 coats of colour.  A very labour intensive job.  We should have purchased a paint spray gun in retrospect but we put in the hours with my sister-in-law to get it done.

Moving forward 2 and a bit years, the side patio fell down in a storm and that was when we knew we either had to spend time and money fixing it or cut our losses and replace it all together.

Hubby contacted the company we purchased it from and they gave him a very good price for a new roof and flooring.  So good, we mustn’t be the first customers to have experienced this issue.  He headed over and collected the items and then it was time to take the cubby apart and repair it.

We did purchase a spray paint gun and it made the world of difference in regards to speed.  We purchased the Wagner Flexio 867 Paint Sprayer and we do recommend this item.

I have spoken before about my desire to build my own house.  The colours used here are probably close to the colours I’d choose if I was building right now.  They are Dulux Teahouse, Airborne half, Tranquil Retreat and Natural White.

Section by section the cubby was fixed and then it was time for some new finishing touches.

Internally, not a lot has changed.  The blue shelves are the IKEA Beksam spice racks which retail at $3.99 each and painted in the same blue as the door and window frames.  The table and chairs are from IKEA too.  The kitchen is from Hip Kids.  It is not intended to be a kitchen for outside and has been damaged by the water that has gotten in.  Still functional though! I made the curtains from damaged ones I had in our bedroom.

We already had the kids pink Adirondack chair which we purchased from Masters in 2014/15.  The kids door mat was also purchased at the time but unfortunately, the lady doesn’t make them anymore.  I wanted to place a plant by the front door. I popped in at Kmart and they had this fake plant for $20.00.

I then headed to Bunnings and selected this solar powered light which was on clearance for $5.00 and bought the $6.00 bracket for it to hang from.  We don’t need functional lighting as the kids are in bed when it’s dark, not playing in the cubby house, this was more for the aesthetics.  Not bad for $11.00.  I would have preferred to hang it lower but we were concerned the kids may bang their heads on it.

To the side is a little table and chair set from Toys’r’Us which cost us $59.99.

The light blue hanging baskets were on clearance for $5.00 at Masters all those years ago.  We went to the local garden store and got 10 plants for $10.00!  Bargain because if the kids are like me, they’ll be dead in no time!

So, after lots of work, the cubby house has been restored.  We have had lots of rain lately and it appears to be fairly water tight now.  The kids are loving having it back and I am “eating” lots of extra meals, made with love!

Tell me, do you have a cubby in your yard?  Thinking of getting one?  What’s holding you back?

Hunter Valley getaway for 2!

The Hubby and I got away for a night and it was soooooo good!

After taking the kids to their Saturday morning sports, the kids were picked up by my sister-in-law for a sleepover and we made our way to the Hunter Valley!

Hubby is a fan of the band L I V E. Through our relationship I have grown to really enjoy their music too. After taking a break for seven years, they have finally come back together and are touring again. Once we received word we quickly booked accommodation (not soon enough as all that was left at a reasonable price was a motel) and waited for tickets to come on sale. Tickets were purchased and we had something to look forward to. Couple time in the Hunter Valley and a concert. Hip Hip Hooray!

We headed straight to the Motel (Cessnock Vintage Motor Inn), got ready and made our way to The Roche Estate, the concert venue. Parking was pretty easy. Now you can’t take anything in with you food or drink wise. Even water bottles had to be emptied and refilled inside. We had low profile chairs, picnic rug, ponchos and jackets. Thank goodness for the ponchos. The beginning of the night saw me looking like this, trying to protect our bag and cheese platter. 😳

img_0728
On the food front – we purchased a Camembert and a Smoked Dutch made by The Smelly Cheese Shop, a delicious basil and pecorino dip and some biscuits and a bread stick. The wine on offer was from Tempus Two and we had the Moscato Rosa.

I picked on Hubby when I found out L I V E were performing at a winery in the Hunter and not somewhere in Sydney. Had they gotten old and developed a taste for red wine? What a great location though!  If they do perform in Sydney next time, I hope its at a venue like the Domain where you’d be able to create the same type of atmosphere.

After doing my best to manage and navigate my way through many tantrums from my 4 year old I was ready to unwind and have some fun. Hubby and I managed that. We sang our heart out to every song, either hand in hand or arms wrapped around each other, dancing away. The best!


Ed (the lead singer) mentioned they’d be back in March next year. Can’t wait!!!

Sunday morning saw Hubby enjoy a sleep-in (why can’t I sleep in anymore?!?!?!) and brunch at Peterson House in their Restaurant, Cuvée. We enjoyed the Bubbly Breakfast which includes bacon, eggs, mushrooms, potato rosti, spinach and tomatoes. It was all so lovely but the rosti with rosemary and seeded mustard was delicious!!! We had a little walk around (how gorgeous is the sandstone on the building!) and bought the kids a little chocolate treat from the chocolate shop onsite and made our way home. I was too tired to visit other wineries and do any tastings, and we’ve also been there several times in the past, so home it was.

 

The trip home saw us reunited with the kids and three loads of washing and preparations for the week ahead, ready to start a new week.

How was your weekend? Have you been to the Hunter? Where’s your favourite place to go?

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. 

Eco Olive Farmstay

When I decided earlier in the year to use some of my long service leave and take all of October off, I also knew it was time for a holiday as well and commenced looking for a place to stay.  I like to have a good look and then chat with the hubby and discuss pricing etc. We also invited some family friends along who have 3 boys – 2 of which are the same age as our kids.

My brother and his family stayed at Eco Olive Farmstay this time last year and it was on my list to look into. Located in Big Hill, NSW (just over 2 hours from Sydney) this is a very relaxed farm stay experience that has been just what we needed.

IMG_9368

We checked in on Saturday afternoon and were warmly greeted by the owner/host, Monica. She showed us around, advised us of a few things, asked if we wanted her to get the fire going and then left us to it. A few minutes spent unpacking and then we went on a quick walk around the top area of the property, saying hello to the sheep and chickens.

Our days following this followed a pattern of waking up, heading out with Monica to feed the animals, head back to play games/read books, have lunch, siesta, afternoon tea, wine time, playing again, dinner, showers, dessert/toasting marshmallows on the fire, kids to bed and a board game for the adults and finally, bed.

The highlight of each day was heading out on the back of Monica’s ute and feeding the sheep, cows, geese and chickens and collecting the eggs from the chicken coop. Monica is a farmer and wealth of knowledge on all the animals and workings of the property. She knows every centimetre of her property and we listened intently, asked lots of questions and had a blast. Some tips included:

  • Leave an egg in each nest so that the hens know where to return to lay more.
  • Hold your hand flat as you feed the sheep.
  • Stay onboard the ute when feeding the cows as they’re too large and unpredictable.

And so much more.

This property is well appointed with plenty of fun activities to do.  There are two trampolines, various swings, a games room with air-hockey, ping pong, chalk board, balls, goals and many more activities.

The property has 3 bedrooms (1 with a queen bed, 1 with 2 sets of bunks and 1 with 2 single beds that can join together) 1 bathroom, 2 toilets and a generous enough kitchen/dining/lounge area that accommodated the 9 of us well.  The kitchen was well stocked with appliances and crockery/cutlery.  We did our shopping in advance and didn’t leave until our last day at checkout time.  There is also wi-fi access as well.

I would definitely head back with our family.  The experience allowed us to take things slowly, spend quality time together and also try new things as well.

Monica’s property can be located here and here.

Have you stayed at a farm before?  Did you enjoy the experience?

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. 

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?