Monday, July 26, 2010

Bathroom renovations - we made it!

I'm currently in love with my new bathroom and en suite! Renovations are now pretty much complete and I'm enjoying our new, clean, fresh, bright, modern bathroom and en suite.

Let me explain. Hubby and I moved into our first home just over four years ago. We had saved up for a deposit, found a house within our budget and importantly a house we really liked. We recognised it had some features we would definitely need to change and to update. First job was painting. The previous owners in an attempt to update it prior to sale decided to paint it. A job that most home owners would appreciate. To be honest, we wished they had thought twice and possibly a third time before picking up their paint brushes. The hallway was a shocking shade of royal blue, one wall was orange, another green and a whole other rainbow was scattered throughout the house. First job - find a neutral colour and paint quick smart.

The second job was the bathroom. We put it off for as long as we could while we redid the tile roof, got married and enjoyed an overseas honeymoon. We also bought a new car and a few other important things.

The bathroom was on par with the paint job - it was crying out for a makeover and we were both well and truly over the way it looked and functioned.

So by the end of last year we were ready to turn our rather large bathroom into a slightly smaller bathroom and an en suite. We played around with different plans and designs and ideas and finally came up with a design that maximised the space and would work (my hubby is very clever and deserves much of the credit for our gorgeous amenities). Hubby set about finding a plumber. A total of 19 calls and three quotes later we had a plumber (we accepted the first two quotes from local plumbers) but they decided not to turn up. By this stage it was early March and we had a serious deadline. My mother, sister and brother-in-law were due to arrive for Easter and we desperately needed a semi functional bathroom.

So hubby set to work. On coming home after the plumbers first visit, I discovered that when I agreed to the toilet being moved to make work easier I had agreed to a non flushing toilet. So it was out with the bucket of water after each bathroom visit. I also forgot that it was no longer cemented into the floor so after almost falling off and wearing the entire contents of the toilet bowl I learnt very quickly to remain still while on the toilet.

I was rationed down to one bath a day, one professional wash and blow dry a week and a trek to relatives and friends for a weekend wash and blow dry. It took a month, but we got there, delivering a semi-functional bathroom by the time my family arrived. Not long after our cute little en suite was also finished.

Hubby and I are now enjoying our beautiful bathrooms and have just upped the guest accommodation by another star. Thank you to my very talented husband for the gorgeous bathrooms he created. A few before and after pics below for your perusal!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Venturing into the blog-a-sphere

I've had my blog up and running for two months and I'm loving it. The chance to write again, be creative and most importantly share experiences and stories with other bloggers, readers and friends.

I had been contemplating creating my own blog for a little while and once I finished seven years of part-time study and full-time work it was definitely time to take the big step. A girlfriend encouraged me to do so by sharing her own blog with me and for that I will always be grateful!

I am continually amazed at the talented people both here in Australia and throughout the world who have created their own blog and are brave enough to share their life experiences; good and bad.

Here's to all the bloggers out there and to those who read my blog thank you. I hope you enjoy the purple notepad and come back to visit. And while you're at it, take a moment to check out some of the other fab bloggers out there.

It’s Flog Your Blog Friday at a new home!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Election 2010 – does sex matter?

The campaign is underway and as voters we will be bombarded with political messages and advertising for the next 32 days in the lead up to the August 21 poll.

For some the decision as to who they will vote for have already been made, others will still be deciding in the final days of the campaign and for some undecided voters the moments during the walk to the ballot box will be spent picking a candidate.

I’m a political junkie – I love it. My uni degree majored in politics, I’ve worked in politics and have always had an interest. Most of my friends think I’m a little odd but my hubby loves the passion that I have for politics and for the future of our communities and our nation.

So as a political junkie I will be spending the next 32 days devouring and digesting all things political; newspapers, online, television, party websites and brochures, twitter, whatever I can get my hands on.

One of the questions that I have been pondering since Julia Gillard became PM is whether her sex is an issue in how I and others might vote. As I’ve written before it was certainly an historic and amazing occasion when Julia became this country’s first female PM. I’m sure it empowered many women and I’m sure most women gave a cheer for girl power!

But will it make a difference to the way people vote? Will women vote for the ALP because they can vote for a female PM? Will we base our decision solely on policies and past performance or will the sex of each of the leaders play a role in our vote? I’m sure the political parties have done plenty of internal polling on this issue and the importance of personality and sex to voters, particularly swinging voters.

It’s important to remember at this point that under our system of government, we don’t actually vote for the PM, unless you happen to be in Julia Gillard or Tony Abbot’s electorate. We vote for a local representative who is then responsible for voting for the leader of their party, and for the party with enough seats to form government, the Prime Minister.

For me, I will be casting my vote according to policy and the party I think will offer the best for this country now and into the future. While I’m thrilled this country finally has a female PM, we need to pick the best person for the job, regardless of their sex. The work of my Federal representative will also be an important consideration, particularly since we don’t hear from her very much at all. In my view, despite being in government she hasn’t delivered for my community. And despite calls from the PM to move forward, past performance will be an important consideration.

On the other side of the coin, will some voters not vote for the ALP because the party is led by a woman? I read a comment in one of the Sunday papers yesterday where a 21 year old man stated a woman should not be running this country. Really!! I shouldn’t be surprised but I am disappointed these views still exist in 2010, especially a 21 year old.

The countdown to August 21 has started. My only hope is that all Australians take the time to treat their right to vote with the respect and importance it deserves, consider their vote carefully and use it wisely. Otherwise it could be a long three years.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interacting with the rest of the world - not always a good thing

I’m lucky enough to catch public transport every day to get to work. I know I’m doing my little bit (hopefully) for the environment and possibly my sanity (well that’s what I tell myself) by catching the train to work every day. I’m lucky enough to commute with my hubby most of the time, so it’s a few extra hours together each week.

But there are days when people on public transport just amaze me. I’ll explain.

I grew up in a household where manners and respect were drilled into me, sometimes frustratingly so. My dad was always at my sister and I about our manners; especially please and thank you and our table manners. Mum was always really strict about respecting others and being polite. Looking back, I am grateful that they instilled this in my sister and I, because it’s given us such a good grounding and I think we’re both very polite and respectful people.

But not everyone that we come across in life is like this. And I admit it drives me crazy.

A few examples of a trip to work on public transport. We catch the train at 6.40am and it’s generally pretty full of people who travel even further to work then us, and they use the time to sleep, understandably. One of my pet hates is iPods at ridiculous volumes. I really don’t want to hear Backstreet Boys at 7am or any of your other crappy music. On top of that, you’re probably going to need a hearing aid in about 20 years if you don’t already. I’m hoping my taxes don’t have to pay for that.

Another one is eating food on the train, particularly smelly food at an early hour. We don’t all need to experience a pork roll on our way to work.

Or my hubby had one just recently – clipping your nails on the train. And clipping is much worse than cutting because you get that annoying noise as the nail is clipped and who knows where it ends up after being flung around by the clipper. Seriously? Shouldn’t that be saved for the privacy of your bathroom. Another one of my hubby’s experiences – sitting opposite a person who not only picked their nose while staring at my hubby but then proceeded to munch on it. Eww! And another one who just proceeded to fart all the way to work. My hubby has all the good experiences, doesn’t he?

I know there are wonderful, considerate, respectful people in the world but some days it feels like all the inconsiderate and rude morons are out to make life challenging.

There are days when people and their inconsiderate ways cause me enormous frustration. I worry that one day someone will push past me or be disrespectful and I will just unload right there in front of them. It would be a hell of a scene but I’m sure I would feel better (for a few minutes at least).

One of my girlfriends said she experienced similar feelings when living in the city - her final straw was telling a total stranger off – and for her it was a sign a simpler life was calling. So she did, she moved back to the country to a more peaceful existence. And hopefully fewer morons!

Anyway, that’s my little ahhh! moment. Please reassure me I'm not alone?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In loving memory of Jack

Anyone who has ever had a pet knows the enormous joy that they bring to our lives. They are cuddly, friendly, fun and offer us unconditional love. And all they ask for in return is a pat, a kind word, food, water and a place to sleep.

My hubby and I have a beautiful little dog called Max. He is a Maltalier, a cross of Cavalier and Maltese. He’s a beautiful dog and in the two short years we have had him has brought so much joy to our lives. My family is full of little dogs, we have one, my mum has one, my dad has one and my sister and her hubby have one. Just like the human members of our family, they all love each other and have a great time together, but occasionally have their moments. But generally, a family catch up is a crazy mixture of humans and dogs.

My sister and I don’t yet have children and so our little dogs are in some way a training run. We have managed to keep this little creature alive and in the meantime develop an incredibly strong bond and love. Parenthood should be a breeze, right?

Earlier this week my sister lost the little dog that she loved so much and it has been devastating to watch. Let me say now that those who have not been lucky enough to share such a bond with an animal will perhaps not understand the deep sense of loss that comes with the death of a pet. While I am fortunate enough not to have lost an immediate family member or dear friend and therefore cannot compare, the loss of a pet can be shattering. Little Jack died of heart failure as my sister’s husband made a desperate dash to the vet to save his life.

My sister’s little Chihuahua Jack has been a constant in my sister’s life since she moved to Brisbane more than six years ago. She saw him in a pet store and it was love. She bought him home and has showered him with love ever since. He has been her loyal companion through a number of boyfriends and has adopted her husband as his ‘dad’ and he has been there through numerous ups and downs.

Seeing my sister deal with this loss is incredibly difficult. I know how I felt when we made the decision to put our 17 year old dog to sleep five years ago. The feeling of loss is immense; they are not there to greet you, to cuddle you and to happily wag their tail. And you wonder how on earth you will get through it. The thought of another pet is too much, how could you love another animal and then have to repeat such a devastating loss. But we do cope and we do yearn for that unconditional love that a pet provides and we do love again. I’m so glad I did take the plunge again with our little Max. Hubby took some convincing, but I think it’s fair to say he loves Max almost as much as I do now.

My family has been so supportive of my sister. My mum took the day off to comfort her. Not an easy phone call to make and explain to your boss you need to take the day off to be with your daughter who has just lost her dog. But for Mum, family was most important. Dad and I called numerous times during the day due to distance to check in and send our love. Her husband provided his love and support, despite processing his own loss.

I have many memories of Jack. They include the time my sister and mum went overseas for two weeks and hubby and I were on babysitting duties. We picked him up from the airport where he had flown in and he proceeded to fart all the way home in the car. Or the time he climbed into a cupboard and my sister accidentally shut the door not realising he was there. She couldn’t find him and started searching the backyard and the neighbourhood for him. She was already printing out lost dog signs when mum suggested she check the house again. There he was sitting in the cupboard patiently waiting for her to open the door.

Jack brought so much joy to not only my sister’s life but all of our lives. He meant so much to her she even had him included in some of her wedding photos. His ashes return home to her tomorrow and she will have those and the countless memories to treasure. Your family misses you Jack and our little family of four dogs are now three.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Time for a winter clean

I peered into my wardrobe this morning and thought yikes, when did things get so out of control? What on earth I have stowed away in here? It was time to take stock, work out what I really needed and move the rest out.

I have a finite number of clothes hangers and they were running low. There were scarves upon scarves, they were piled on top of handbags, shoes were everywhere and there was no room at all to add anything. Not good! Definitely time for a spring or in this case winter clean.

Since I’m now on a budget, I really need to maximise the items in my wardrobe. I generally opt for classic items with a few seasonal trends thrown in each year. So I like to think my wardrobe is pretty versatile. But there was way too much in there.
A few of my rules (admittedly not always followed but a general guide)

  • Whenever I purchase something new I try to remember a tip I heard on Oprah once –  before adding a new item to your wardrobe throw out an old one. That almost never happens. For that I blame my parents (and I’m sure they in turn blame their parents). It’s genetic. Yep – they all like to keep things for a rainy day.
  • Another rule of mine that again I attempt to follow is if I haven’t worn something in 12 months then it’s out. I’m generally pretty good at following this but the odd item sneaks through. Usually because I just can’t bear to part with it.
The one very important exception to this rule is my wedding dress. It’s been dry cleaned and stored in a box with my veil, my shoes, my handkerchief and my matching bag. The dress was designed by my dress maker and I and made to fit me and me alone. Another personal touch is the train is embroidered with the initials of my hubby and I. I simply cannot bear to part with it. Plus to me it’s priceless. So it stays!

So winter clean is done and I discovered the following items:

  • A lot of spare buttons (the extra ones you get with a new piece of clothing). I have only ever had to call on that stash one. But I think they look pretty cool in my pretty jar.
  • A stash of nail polish colours. No need to purchase any more nail polish colours.
  • My gorgeous Fendi scarf; a gift from my sister. I knew it was in there, just under an enormous pile of scarves. Hmm, I’ll have to plan an outfit around it for this week.
  • A whole heap of long sleeved tops, ideal for wearing under cardigans and dresses and other outfits. I had been thinking I needed to invest in a couple to get me through winter and into spring. Great news for the budget. I don’t need to go and buy any. Yay!
  • I have a section at the top of the wardrobe where I keep some of my sentimental items, like old birthday cards, letters and other little bits and pieces. It’s such a nice surprise to take a few minutes and read through some of these. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Plus how often do we receive hand written letters these days! So very rare.
  • A pair of gorgeous green heels I bought in London years ago and totally forgot they were there. Score!
  • A whole pile of plastic, cardboard and material bags from a multitude of stores. Why do I hang onto these?
I’ve managed to fill the bin, put aside a few items to sell and rediscovered some classic pieces. And that’s about it from the spring clean of my wardrobe. I feel so much better opening up my wardrobe doors and knowing its super organised. Plus hubby has finished the en suite so our bedroom feels extra luxurious now. I’m off to enjoy.


Related Posts with Thumbnails