🎶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?

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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. 😳

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?

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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.


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?

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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?

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. 


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?

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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 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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