Thursday, 29 January 2015

When a Fellow Blogger Achieves Something Pretty Darn Special

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Don't you just love it when a fellow blogger smacks a goal and achieves a dream of theirs?

I do.

It's one of those things that makes me go all "Yes! YES!!" and start fist pumping the air like no mans business and that's exactly how I felt when I heard about Leigh's book being released today.

‘Perhaps the only thing that can impact and shape a woman’s life with the same power as her mother’s love and guidance is her mother’s death.'

In her book Without My Mum, Leigh Van Der Horst shares her own honest, heartfelt story of losing her beloved mother to cancer in 2008. 

She invites us on a journey that is at times heartbreaking and others heartwarming, yet is ultimately comforting and inspiring. With genuine warmth and candor, Leigh tells of her transformative passage through devastating grief to rediscover and redefine her own identity.

Without My Mum reveals the sisterhood amongst motherless mothers. Featuring stories from mothers around the world, Without My Mum offers resounding reassurance that no motherless mother is ever alone. Leigh Van Der Horst further reaches out to her motherless ‘sisters’ supported by contributions of motherly wisdom from a collection of encouraging mothers world wide together with a host of inspiring popular personalities such as Jools Oliver, Lisa Wilkinson, Megan Gale, Amanda de Cadenet and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

The motherless mother’s heart needs to know that she can and will move through grief to reclaim a fulfilling, grateful and loving life. Without My Mum addresses this need by providing a definitive source of emotional and practical resources specifically for women dealing with the loss of their mum.’

Here is what Jool's Oliver had to say about Leigh's book.

You can purchase Leigh's book Without My Mum from here and to celebrate her book being published today, Leigh would like two of you guys to win a copy for yourselves. 

To enter simply tell me your favourite memory you have of your own Mum. Leigh will choose two winners on Sunday 8th Feb after 7pm AEST

Congratulations Leigh - Man I love seeing bloggers doing such awesome things!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Let The Makeovers Begin - Update 1

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I popped the cherry on my 2015 makeover mission on Sunday and there is no turning back now.

No sir.

Better yet, I picked probably the most humid day this century to start painting cause I'm real smart like that.

I'll admit - I hadn't planned it out very well... although if you weren't actually you and I was talking to my husband then I would be saying "Of course I planned this" (with a big fat NOT under my breath).

It's not like I haven't given this redecorating project of mine enough thought. I have actually been talking about doing it for like eleventy years and I had already decided that this is the year.

It's just that I hadn't actually picked a day when I would start and so I can understand why Carl was a bit shocked that one minute I was lying by the pool reading Real Living Magazine and then the next I was in my cossie and a towel lifting the lid on a tin of undercoat.

"When did you decide you were going to start this?" asked my startled husband.

"Just then" I said as I came out of the garage with an arm full of paint.

"It's Sunday, we are supposed to be relaxing" the husband declared.

"I am relaxed" I responded calmly as I stuck his screwdriver into the tin of under coat and gave it a good stir.

"It's too humid to paint today" he tried.

"Pfffft" I sniffed as I dipped my paint brush into the tin and slapped a big stripe of undercoat on the wall.

"You haven't prepped the wall properly" he accused me.

"YES I HAVE" I replied (OK shouted) indignantly as I eyeballed him and grabbed the closest dishcloth and started slapping at the wall in a defiant show of "I KNOW what I'm doing".

And I do.


I have watched enough episodes of The Block to sort of know what I am doing.

It's painting.... just painting right?

So the first room I had randomly chosen to attack is the entry and stairwell.

You can see in the very old photo above that it had boring taupe walls. In fact nearly ALL the main rooms in our house are that blah boring taupe, except for two that were red ... or burnt capsicum to be precise... a throwback to my love of red and chocolate colours in 2007.

I have since re painted one of those walls white and the other Jade green, but the rest of the taupe walls are taunting me and quite frankly it is time for them to go.

The taupe is a nice enough colour on it's own, I really don't have anything personal against taupe... much... it's just that it is so dull and blah in this house.

You see our house faces west so the back rooms get the bright morning sun and then after that there is not much sun action until the afternoon when once again it comes blaring in through the front rooms.

The house just needs to be brighter and clearly the answer to this predicament... is to paint everything white.

And so I started with the painting and about 30 minutes into my mission I started having second thoughts.

It was hot, and humid and did I mention SO . FLIPPING . HOT?

I had stripped down to nothing but a cossie (such a good look - NOT) and still I was sweating like a pig at a BBQ.

"I CAN do this" I said in a lame attempt to motivate myself, "I can".

Annnnd once I convinced the hubby to go to Bunnings for another tin of Primer - I did do it. For five whole hours straight I DID IT.

I undercoated two doors and all the walls in the entry and the stair well like a pro people.

Oh OK maybe a pro would have spent *ahem* a little more time prepping the walls... whatever. With the undercoat on I was ready to finish the job with the top coats.

And then the rain started.

And the rain continued.

AND it has rain ever since.

THREE whole frigging days and 8 frogs in the pool kind of rain and now my walls are sitting there all undercoated and stuff and annoying the crap out of me. And what can I do about it?


I cannot do a single thing because EVERYONE knows you can't paint on a rainy day....

can you?

Just asking!

So I don't really have much to show for my first progress update... except for these really bad iPhone photos of undercoated walls and carpet that I think may need replacing too.

I'll just add that to the list for another stinking hot day.

Have you attempted a DIY home makeover?
Any tips you can give me? 
Just don't tell me you can't paint on a humid day because... 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Family that Feasts Together... Ummmm Eats Good Food Together???

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Sorry, I know that was a really lame post title. I had all the best intentions of coming up with something really catchy... but then I couldn't think of anything.



We spent Australia Day yesterday with my brother's family at my Mum and Dad's house yesterday.

In our usual style - we ate, we drank, we exchanged really bad puns and compared crooked toes and all that. Just the typical agenda when out family get together.

Australia day is kind of like the last big hurrah of the holidays, a timely celebration just before school goes back and so knowing this, we whoop it up in the knowledge that freedom is just around the corner it is business as usual later this week.

My Dad baked fish - BIG mothers with ugly teeth and mean eyes that followed you as you worked your way around the table.

It was dead set like this fish was snarling at me and I almost felt bad for a minute eating him... until I tasted how damn good he was and then I was so over the guilt in a mere flash.

The wine flowed freely, as did the G&Ts and despite the rain meaning we were confined to under cover, and my mum had to drive us home as it was too wet to ride our bikes, it was the perfect kind of Australia Day in my books - relaxed, easy and a little bit pissy.

There was pav - of course. I mean what is Australia Day without a pav? My sister in law was assigned the dessert because she does desserts like no man's business. I mean, would you look at it... JUST LOOK!

We did the old 'everyone brings  plate' thingy as that just makes everything so much easier don't you think.

I was on salad duty, which was dan diddily dandy as I had a serious craving for this Cous Cous, Goats cheese and Beetroot salad I learnt from a master class with Karen Martini. Sorry the name dropping just never gets old and truthfully I probably only just make this so when people say "Oh yum, where is this from" I can be all "Oh just something Karen showed me".

What can I say?

Just call me a banker!

I took the teenagers ( my son and my niece) to the movies last night to see Unbroken and holy smokes that is on helluva good movie.

Admittedly there was a part of me that wanted the movie to be really bad because, you know... Angelina Jolie can't look that good AND be a good director and all that.

Alas.. she is, and so I consoled myself with a bucket of popcorn as big as my head.

Speaking of movies.. can I just go on a little griping run for just one minute... WHY is it that when you go to the movies and the theatre is pretty much empty, people come in and insist on sitting in the seats right in front of you?

There are like 300 or more other flipping seats they can choose from but NOOOOOO they have to sit right in front of you so that you can hear them munching on their snacks and you can smell what they ate for lunch.

Twice this has happened to us in the past two weeks. TWICE.

I even made a joke about it to the kids yesterday when we sat down. I literally said "What is the bet that because the cinema is pretty much empty, someone will come in and sit right in front of us.

First of all a lady came in and sat on her own in the seat directly behind me.

That was OK, maybe she just craved a little company and hey I have never been brave enough to go to the movies on my own so kudos to her. But then 9 teenagers came in when their king size Pepsi, popcorn and choc tops and sat in the nine seats RIGHT in front of us.

I mean really? REALLY?

Is there some kind of rule that states if there is an empty theatre, you must all sit on top of each other?


On another note - I love it when you download your photos to your computer and you find random snaps that your hubby has taken. Like this one below... of him and a spoon.

Strange things people.. STRANGE things.

So what did you get up to on Australia Day?
Have you experienced the empty movie phenomenon for yourself?
Seen Unbroken yet and cursed that Angelina for being so good at everything as well as being married to Brad?