Sunday, 10 November 2013

A milestone reached

High Four for Responsibility!*

I think I may have finally reached the milestone of Official Responsible Adulthood.  I certainly feel responsible anyhow.

How did I get here you ask?

Well, it wasn't turning 18.  Nor moving out of home.  It wasn't buying a car.  It wasn't my first holiday overseas without my family either. Or finishing uni, getting a job and moving a three hours drive away from anyone I knew. 

This week marks the week that I paid off my credit card for the first time since I got one when I was 19.  That's 13 years folks.  13 years of paying off bits and then spending more, repeated ad nauseam.

Hooray!  I can't describe just how chuffed I am with myself that I didn't spend my tax return on a Thermomix or a fancy new blender (my two initial thoughts of how to use it).

This means that as of now, apart from about $500 of HECS debt (uni fees for those nonAU people), I am completely debt free.  Admittedly, MR has lots of debt because he bought our house but it was his decision to not do a joint mortgage. 

The opportunities are endless.  Unfortunately, now I feel like I have lots of spare money because I have an empty credit card so I need to get onto reducing my limit quick smart before I belie my above claim to responsible adult-ness.   I do however have a bit of extra cash each pay that used to go towards paying off my credit card which I'm going to save all of and, oh all right, some of and put it towards a deposit for a new car (and some more debt). 

The other bit, if I'm entirely honest, will most likely be blown wildly on new clothes that I don't need and craft stuff that I don't use.  Just like usual.

Maybe I still have a little way to go...

Do you feel like a responsible adult at least some of the time?  Did you have a defining moment of reaching that milestone? 

* I may have been struggling to find a relevant photo and Meow has such cute fluffy paws...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Made by hand :: baby pants

I'm belated joining up with Christina's new(ish) linky, Made By Hand today.  I've been meaning to join in for a while but Thursdays are busy ones for me and when I get home I'm usually a bit too tired for blogging.  Thursdays are my Fridays.

A couple of weeks ago I went to visit Sally and her brand new little bub.  The night before, I chastised myself for not yet having made a present for little baby A.  So I got online and looked for a simple pattern that I could hopefully make without staying up past midnight or getting overly frustrated with my continued inability to sew things and have them turn out how they should.  I came across Brindle and Twig on etsy and found this nice easy two piece pattern Sarouel baby pants.  Two pieces. Now that's my kind of pattern. Even better, it can be made with knit or woven fabric.  Also, the pattern includes sizes from 0-3 months right up to 2-3 years.  Very handy. 

I got sewing and managed to get them made in a few hours.  Well before midnight even.  The only fiddly bits were the leg hems and that was only because they were small. 

I used a Robert Kaufman fabric from my stash that I think I've had for perhaps 3 or 4 years.  I have a big stash for a not very confident sewer because I always like the idea of sewing things but when it gets to it I have the above mentioned problem of it not turning out right so I buy the fabric and then baulk at the sewing.  So it was very nice to find something suitable already in my house.

I was really happy with how well they turned out.  They looked like I imagined.  Wonders will never cease.  Perhaps I should stick to two piece patterns from now on?

Sally very kindly took some photos of A in his pants and emailed them to me so I could blog them.  Doesn't he look so cute!


Sunday, 3 November 2013

New Zealand ::South Island::

Continuing on from here.

From Wellington we got a flight down to Queenstown.  We decided to do it this way because by now we only had 4 nights left before we flew out!  Time goes so quickly on holidays.  The view coming in to land in Queenstown was just beautiful, even though we were apparently on the wrong side of the plane for the really big mountain views.

We had two nights in Queenstown, the first place we stopped at properly since visiting family.  We stayed at the Pounamu Apartments which I would definitely recommend.  I made sure we booked somewhere with a washing machine so we could clean all our dirty things and there was even complimentary washing detergent next to the washing machine.  Although we had a back apartment because we just booked a studio room, there were one bedroom and two bedroom apartments at the front of the complex which had absolutely amazing views of the lake and mountains behind it.

The ski fields were already closed but we took a drive up to see some snow (which was very icy because of melting) and we just missed a freak Spring snowstorm the day after we left which left people trapped where they were and unable to get through the mountain passes.  While it would have been pretty awesome to see snow falling, we were glad not to have to change our holiday plans.  While up at the snow fields, I was captured by an discarded, unmelted icy pole which must have been there for a few days at least as the place had been closed for almost a week.  You would never see anything like that in Western Australia!  The view up there was pretty amazing as well.

We also went up the mountain/hill on the Gondola and down via flying fox, or as they call it, zip lines.  I'd done a flying fox in Dwellingup (south WA) on a school camp and loved it so I was really the drive behind doing this.  It was the only adrenaline style thing I was really interested in doing.  It was so much fun.  There were 6 zip lines in total, zigzagging down the hill front.  Unfortunately, we completely forgot to go to the store to see the photos of us on the tour that we could buy and we didn't take very many while doing it.  We were about an hour out of Queenstown when I remembered we were supposed to go and look at the photos.  I did get a couple of us turning upside down in our harnesses but because they were taken from behind all you can see is bums.
The gondola ride up and the view from the top

Ziplining and the amazing view between the trees
Queenstown is such a gorgeous place, I could easily have spent a week or two there.  There were rugs draped over the back of the chairs in the outside seating area of the cafes and pubs to keep warm.  So cute.  There were daffodils growing wild on the banks of the river and the side of the road.  It would have been lovely to hire bikes and go for a ride around (part) of the lake but we just ran out of time, as we did everywhere.

Following Queenstown, we drove to Dunedin.  On the way there we stopped at a cheese and winery and bought some picnic supplies.  We found a beautiful little spot by the side of the river with a little waterfall to sit and picnic next to.  We were so lucky with the weather, it continued to be sunny and even though it was cold, sitting in the sun was just glorious.

We were only in Dunedin for one day and spent most of it just wandering around until our flight which was in the evening.  We went to the Otago Museum and (more minibeasts alert) went to the Butterfly area in the Discovery World Tropical Forest.  The new butterflies were released at 10:30am and I was like a little kid rushing through the museum to make it in time (our breakfast took a bit longer to come out than we thought it would).  Because the new butterflies were still a bit dozy and their wings were still drying off, they were quite happy to be placed on the hand of a person and just chill out there until they were ready for flying.  So exciting!  I had one butterfly land on my nose but was too slow to take a photo.  There used to be a butterfly enclosure at the Zoo here in Perth but it closed down many years ago and now there are no butterfly places around.  Whenever I travel I always check for butterfly places. The tropical forest had three levels, ground, mezzanine and sky.  Down the bottom there were some tortoises in a pond which were pretty cute as well.

From Dunedin we flew to Auckland where we stayed the night just outside the airport and flew out the next day.  MR secretly upgraded out tickets to business class on the way back as well and because it was a newer plane we got the Skybed seats.  So amazing!  I read an entire book and watched a movie in comfort with my feet propped on the ottoman or stretched out on my bed.  Definitely the way to fly if you can!

Currently, it is seven weeks before we head over to New Zealand again for Christmas and while we won't get a chance to go to the South Island again as MR's family is in the North Island, I really cannot wait to do some more exploring.  Number 1 on my list is to have a bit of a soak in a nice warm geothermal stream somewhere, one of the things we ran out of time to do this trip. 

Do you have any other suggestions of places to go or things to do in the North Island?  We will be around the Te Puke region and I'd welcome any ideas, particularly good shops to hunt down!


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Trend setting

One of my students wears a cat ears headband which she has been wearing on and off for the entire school year.  It usually gets worn to school once or twice each week (or our two and a half days at Kindy).  It looks pretty much exactly like this set, but nowadays much more tatty.

She wears it inside (I don't mind), outside (over the top of her bucket hat), at rest time on the mat.  I'm sure she wears it quite a bit in other places when she is not at Kindy.

She has never lost it, which I think is quite a good feat for a Kindy child to have managed. 

Back in Term 3 I noticed another girl wear a set of cat ears to school one day in a different colour.  And then a few weeks after that two more did the same.  There are now about five girls in my class who occasionally wear these cat ears headbands to school.

It had never really occurred to me that trend setting can start at that age.  Maybe as a child I saw a girl wearing something I liked and wanted one myself, I don't know - I can't remember my Kindy years.  I remember when I moved towns in Year 3 and at my new school the fashion was for wearing your pleated skirt over your trackies in Winter.  And when we moved again when I was in Year 5, the fashion was for surf brands, which I never had.

How old were you when you first wanted something another child was wearing?  Or were you that child that everyone wanted to be just like?


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

New Zealand ::North Island::

I finally uploaded my photos from our New Zealand holiday to the computer last night (mainly because I needed to show a friend the shots today) so now I can do my holiday wrap up post.

Our trip started off well, we were upgraded to business class because the plane was an older one and didn't have premium economy seats (the ones we did book).  This meant we got to hang in the lounge while waiting for our flight!  MR is well and truly immune to the excitement of lounges as he used to be a regular attendee when flying up to work.  Mine workers are more prevalent than business men in gold class lounges here in Western Australia.  I however was not at all immune.  It was my first lounge visit (and business class flight) and I was like a little girl in a lolly shop.  Trying all the free things, checking out what was available.  Trying more of the food.  And some more.  There was free alcohol as well but I didn't try any of that.

Coming in to land was amazing.  The landscape looking like a blanket of lush green carpet.  No brown or red to be seen.  If you haven't been before, think florist foam dark green.  It looked like every hill had been sprayed with that.

We were also really lucky that the only day of rain we had was on the last day.  All other days were sunny and while we were in the North Island it was short sleeves, hats and sunscreen sort of weather.

We started off our holiday visiting MR's family.  They took us to see glow worms on our first night on what they called "about a half an hour walk" to the local waterfall.  Of course, that walk involved 20 minutes of walking down steps by torch light into the gully where the waterfall was and then about 30 minutes back up again.  On three hours sleep.  As you can imagine I was the last back to the top.  I kept stopping to look at glow worms on the way back up (or so I told myself).  The next day I was pretty stoked to see some bumble bees and spent a good twenty minutes alternating between galloping around the garden chasing them with the camera and squatting down trying to get a good photo, much to the amusement of the rellies.

However, the holiday was about more than just minibeasts (although they do feature again later).  We learnt about growing kiwi fruit on the family farm and the troubles they have had with disease in the past few years.  We went for a visit to the Tamaki Maori Village and learnt about Maori culture and had a tradition hangi meal for dinner.  It was really interesting to hear about the Maori history.  I'd never thought about how little I knew about it.  We also went to the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland and walked through the stinky rotten egg sulpher steam clouds, (which we dubbed 'poo clouds') looking at all the different geothermal pools and boiling mud pools.  These were not ones you could get in to, there were many signs warning of the temperature being 100`C and no touching.*

After visiting with family we spent a couple of days driving down to Wellington to visit one of MR's cousins before flying over to the South Island.  We stayed in this restored old home which is now a bed and breakfast while in Wellington.

Unfortunately we were only in New Zealand for ten days and we wanted to see Everything so it was quite rushed.  We only spent one night in Wellington and flew out early the next morning.  This was probably a good thing for MR because as soon as we were somewhere for longer than just a night I wanted to go shopping!  We are lucky enough to be heading back to the North Island at Christmas time to spend Christmas with the family over there.  MR's parents are paying for us, his two brothers, their partners and one grandchild to come over which is just so generous.  So we are very much looking forward to heading over there for another ten days in a bit under eight weeks.

I'll fly us down to South Island and fill you in on our adventures there (hopefully tomorrow) but for now, unfortunately school work is calling me.


*Can you guess who was the five year old who read the sign and then spent the rest of the walk wanting to stick her finger into all of the pools 'just to see'?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Conquered... hopefully

It's Week 2 of Term 4 and I haven't (yet) gotten sick.  It's a miracle!  The last 3 terms have seen me sick every Week 2. Twice in hospital and once just at home.  I'm so pleased.  Now to just hold out and not get sick at all for the rest of this week and then for the rest of the term.

Because of my terrible past history I've only just signed up to go to this Light the Night walk in Bruce Rock.  I was away in New Zealand for the Perth event and MR's Mum has kindly organised this one in MR's home town.  Isn't she a champion?

For those not in the know, I have Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.  This type of leukaemia is the one that is closest to having a cure found for it.  Currently, there are these 'wonder drugs' that mean we (usually) don't need chemo or a bone marrow transplant.  I am lucky enough that I can take these tablets and have a good quality of life.  I work three days a week due to fatigue issues but apart from a few aches now and again and a reduced immune level I am all good.  Many people suffering from blood cancers are not so lucky however and every dollar you can spare goes towards finding cures for Leukaemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma and other types of blood cancers.

So, you have exactly two days to generously dig deep for some loose change (or your credit card) and donate to my cause right here.  You could donate just $5 - like I said, every dollar really does help (and is tax deductible).

Thanks so much in advance!

Monday, 21 October 2013

First Crop

Way back two and a bit years ago, when we first moved into our home we planted some fruit trees.  One of them was a cutting of a loquat tree from my Mum.  I must admit, I was entirely dubious as to how it was going to grow let alone fruit when it was just a stick from her own tree.  But grow it did and fruit it has.  In fact, it has beaten all the other fruit trees to producing edible fruit.  I've been enjoying these since I got back from New Zealand.  MR had one the first day we got back when they were ripe enough for tart-taste-loving-me but not for him.  Unfortunately he hasn't been home since then so I am trying hard to limit myself to two loquats a day so that there are still some left for him to enjoy when he gets back home on Saturday.

It's a very exciting moment to have my own fruit growing in the garden.  Our other trees are going okay, with out apricot having one single green apricot on it and our nectarine having quite a few.  Our nectarine had some fruit appear last year but we pulled them off so it could concentrate on growing.  It is still quite small but we decided to leave the fruit on and see what happens this year.


Is there anything exciting happening in your garden at the moment?

Monday, 14 October 2013


Today my liver turns two. 

Two years since that precious gift from an unknown young man. 

I think about him and his family as I make my traditional anniversary cupcakes. Raspberry, Apple and Cinnamon this time. Do they do something each year in remembrance of him? Or does it pass quietly, individually, retrospectively?  I feel he should be celebrated. But I understand if they are not ready yet.  

I've just gotten back from my first overseas holiday post transplant.  New Zealand.  A place I would never have had a chance to experience if not for the generosity of an anonymous family.  So many experiences I've had in the last two years and so many moments to come that I owe to them.

How do you say thank you for something like that?

Unfortunately, my leukaemia disallows me from donating organs or blood.  But if you are allowed to, you should consider becoming an organ donor or a blood donor.  There are so many people in need and it is such a amazing gift to be able to give.

Last week I wore a bikini for the first time since surgery.  My scar is still there but it is now just a part of me, I often forget it is there. Parts of it have faded a lot, parts are still pink. I don't mind. Oddly, I am less self conscious of my stomach now than I have ever been.  I'll have to take another photo soon for the records and compare.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Oh look, I made something.

You would be forgiven for not realising (or remembering) that this is a bit of a craft blog.  There has been such a big drought of crafty activity of late on here.  However, that is not to say I haven't been making things.  I've made 3 crochet slouch beanies (and sold one).  As mentioned in yesterday's post I've also started to learn about circular knitting and knitted one beanie with another on the way.

I also finally finished putting together this clock that I started over a year ago.  It was originally destined to be an engagement present for my best friend but I ended up finding a quite expensive wedding present that she had oohed and ahhed over quite a bit whenever we went past a certain shop so did a combined wedding and engagement present.  So then it was going to be a Christmas present but I got a bit slack so finally it turned into a birthday present.

I've made one of these clocks before, also using ink and spindle fabric which is just perfect with its classic and not too fussy designs for a bit of embroidery embellishment.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, particularly with just the embroidery down the left side.  I think that adds a nice touch of detail to the overall look.

I toyed around with adding buttons or numbers but my friend isn't a super handmade-y sort of person so I just went for not too much.

I combined a red and a brown floss together to do the brown section of the robin to give it a more feathery appearance.

I had trouble with both clocks in this area, sticking down the fabric when it was highly embroidered.  Lots of bubbling which I couldn't work out how to fix.

Finishing off the clock has made me miss embroidery so I've decided once I've finished this beanie the next project is going to be back to the needle and thread.  Perhaps I might finish off my final sashiko panel?

Also in the things I've made recently category is this cake for my Dad's 60th.  He is a bit Lego fan and collects quite a lot each year.  He is also slightly obsessed with the colour highlighter green.  So with my sister's help we decorated this cake I made with fondant.  Our first attempt at ever using it! I definitely couldn't have done it without her help, for one thing I didn't have the arm strength for rolling it all out as well as she does!  It may not look big but that cake is big enough to serve 40 people! That is a whole lot of eggs, butter, flour, buttermilk and sugar and lots of surface area needing to be covered smoothly by fondant.  MR helped as well, he has a very good eye for measurement and he was in charge of leveling out the cake top.  I used this vanilla buttermilk cake recipe which is now my official birthday cake recipe.  SO so good.  Dense but moist and super high on flavour.  And even better, for those of you who love a bit of raw cake batter (like me) but who also wish to avoid the eating of raw eggs (which I should, but often don't) in this mixture you add the eggs in last of all so there is plenty of yummy cake batter tasting moments to be had and believe me (and my post raw cake batter feast sore tummy), cake batter without egg is just as tasty!

After Emma's beautiful butter icing Lego cake just a few weeks prior, I'd had a chance to get a few tips from her about tricky bits - ie. the Lego 'bumps' on top.  To combat the difficulty of icing rounds of cake, Oreos or marshmallows we simply rolled out some extra fondant and cut out circles with a scone cutter.  Much quicker and easier.

Certainly not perfect but for a first attempt we were pretty pleased with our efforts.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Two sleeps

Just two sleeps til MR and I head off to NZ for 11 days.  It is finally starting to feel real. 

Today I looked up the weather in NZ and it is forecast for between 14-20 maximums.  Good thing we have been out and bought some thermals and nice thick merino jackets. 

I have finished making a beanie for MR to wear and I am about half way through a beanie for myself.  I finally bit the bullet and gave circular knitting a try and it is actually incredibly much easier than it looks.  Both beanies have been/are being circular knitted.  Unfortunately I am not at all very fast at this knitting business and that means I am going to have to work hard to get mine all finished in time.  Of course, I am making myself a slouch beanie which means a bigger area of knitting to be done.  Silly!

We've booked all of our accommodation bar one night where we're going to be on the road and not sure how far we're going to make it.  Our car hire is booked and we've borrowed a tom tom off a friend who has the New Zealand maps downloaded to it, saving us about $100 from if we were to hire one with the car so that's nice.

We haven't booked any activities yet, we'll wait til we're over there and make some decisions there.  I have a big list of things I would like to do/see though.

I've got all our documents photocopied twice to put in the carry on and suitcases.  MR got a case for himself and it just happened that we were in Myer on a day they had 40% off luggage so that was a big score as well!  However, both of our cases are still sitting in the lounge room completely empty.  My next job for today is to start doing some outfit planning now that I have all the washing just about up to date.  I am a terrible packer but I've been reading some tips from Jarrah Jungle and Jacana and I'm determined to make a better go of it this time.  I want to have lots of space for shopping, even though MR thinks shopping is not a necessary thing to schedule in to our holiday!

Monday, 26 August 2013

NZ Baby!

You may remember me mentioning a couple of months ago that MR and I were thinking about planning a holiday to New Zealand.

Well, that thinking has turned into action!  I got my letters from the specialists, found out that I could get travel insurance and now we've booked!  We're going in October for 11 days and I am quite beside myself with excitement.  That's only five and a bit weeks away!

For those who are interested, it was only an extra $100 to have my Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia and Liver Transplant covered during the trip.  I was expecting a lot more that that!  I guess it does depend on your age, status of your condition and where you are travelling though.  NZ and Australia have a reciprocal health agreement which makes things more friendly.

Of course, after we booked, I was driving home one day making up lists of what to take in my head and into my mind (thankfully) popped the passport aspect.  Mine had expired.  Argh!  After having a big stress about not being able to go because my passport wouldn't arrive in time, I found out it only takes about 2 weeks for a new one to arrive so off I went for new photos and to fork over a ridiculous amount of money.

Look what old age steroids have done to my jaw line.
We've even planned a bit of an itinerary.  We're flying in to Auckland at about 6am so the plan is to jump into a hire car and drive to Te Puke (MR has family there) where we will visit for a couple of days and do things like glow worm caves, waterfalls, a big flying fox and hot pools.  Then we're off to Rotorua, Taupo and Masterton on the way to Wellington.  We're going to stop in at some cheese farms to indulge in lots of yummy cheese.

Following that we're flying to Queenstown where we'll stay for a couple of nights and then head over to Dunedin before flying back to Auckland and flying out.

For the south island we have planned:
  • snow
  • maybe Milford Sound
  • Arrowtown
  • some famous burger joint in Queenstown
  • Butterfly Experience at the Otago Museum
  • maybe a penguin experience

Of course, there is still lots to be planned, where to stay, what else to see, hire a car and so forth.  So I'm very open to suggestions of great places to go (or stay).  Particularly cool crafty shops or nice galleries.  We've been saving up for some art for our walls and are thinking about buying something while we're over there to remember the trip by.  So have you been to NZ or are you a local?  Please, please share your expertise!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Life lessons

Last night I was just about to fall into bed when I realised I had yet to take off my makeup. And I wondered, why don't I ever take it off as soon as I get home? Instead, every makeup wearing night I ponder the actual harm of going to bed in it. And sometimes, even though I know better, I still do.

It got me thinking about other little life lessons I am still working on learning. Things I know I should do but am just not quite there yet...


Put it away once you're finished with it.

Case in point: look at all those things I hadn't put away until
yesterday when I cleaned my desk.

If you don't try it won't happen. 

Eat five serves of veggies every day (yesterday's pitiful effort was a big fat zero).

Everyone is neither talking about you or judging you.

Don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.

Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after it. 

Exercise regularly.

Of course, after making that depressing list that makes me sound like a fussy make up wearing five year old, I had to counter it by listing the life lessons I have learnt... 

Appreciate the small things. 

Have regular conversations with your partner. 

Take time for yourself (I do this way too well). 

Do things you enjoy. 

Pity I still sound like a fussy make up wearing five year old (with a boyfriend). 

What makes your lists of still learning and achieved?

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Really Just Right Shoes

Today while reading Maxabella Loves I came across a new little group to join.  My type of group that might encourage me to write a bit more, something I've been wanting to do for a while but am entirely very slack about actually doing.

The Blogfast Club is run by katesaysstuff but it seem to have a different home each week so we can all tour the traps.  This week it is being hosted by Syrenex.

So I sat straight down and came up with this little short story for the theme this week which is a children's story about New Shoes.  This is a ten minute job and could probably do with lots of tweaking before being sent out into space but that's the good thing about this sort of writing, it's just about putting it down and getting it out there.  No need for perfection and I can always come back and fine tune it for my own benefits at a later date.

Also, please ignore the fact that the picture does not at all relate to the shoes in the story, we'll just gloss over that part...

The Really Just Right Shoes

Last night as Mum and I tidied up my bedroom Mum said I need new shoes.

“No way!” I said.  My shoes are just right.  They are red and they have lights that flash and even though the Velcro doesn’t stay stuck together and I kick them off when I play soccer in the playground, they are still just right for me.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have some different shoes though?” Mum asks me.

“No. I like my shoes how they are.  They are comfortable and they don’t squeak and even though the sole is coming off of one they are really just right.”

“How about if we looked for some just the same then,” Mum asked as she tucked me into bed.

“No, there’s really no need Mum.  My shoes are so quick and easy to put on even though they are actually a bit hard to put on because they are tight at the toes and I have to stomp a bit to get my foot in.  But they are still Just Right.”

“Hrm.” says Mum and she looked at me.  You know that look where her eyebrows go up and her mouth goes together all scrunchy-like to the side and she just waits.  That one.  I looked back.  It lasted a little while.

I know what that look means.  Mum uses it all the time.  It means Have you really thought about what you are saying?

“Mum, really.  They are Really Just Right.  Even though there is a hole in one toe they are.  They Really Are.”

Mum just kept on looking at me with That Look.

I sighed.

Maybe she’s right.

Monday, 5 August 2013


These beautiful tulips from MR are on my tallboy in the bedroom at the moment. Catching the afternoon Winter sun. Looking amazing. I could lie here all afternoon smiling at them. They make me happy. Just what I need after a few annoying days stuck in hospital. 

I am not really much of a flower type girl. Many of them are too pongy and give me a headache. But Spring bulbs I could have in my house any day. Tulips, Snowdrops, Bluebells and Ranunculus particularly. I love how you can gently pull down the tulip leaves a little bit and they go all curly. It's like hair styling for flowers. 

I often think as I am looking at photos of flowers (or trying to arrange a bunch myself) how do you get them looking so beautiful? I never seem to get it looking quite as nice. The only thing I have learnt about arranging flowers, or anything really, is that odd numbers grouped together look better. It is something I did a little bit instinctively without really realising and then when I read it, it was a bit of an epiphany moment. 

Are you are flower arranging queen or have you done a flower arranging course? I've love some more tips. 

And what flowers would you have in your home year round if there were no climatic restrictions? 


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Shopping for an occasion

Not too long after my transplant a few years ago, I found myself out at the shops looking for a whole new set of clothing for a particular occasion.  The occasion of having to be stuck in hospital and wanting to wear something other than pyjamas. 

Now don't get me wrong, I do love my pyjamas and happily wear them all day when I'm not feeling the best.  But sometimes you have visitors, or want to pop down to the cafeteria for something more palatable than the hospital meal you've been served.  And sometimes you just want to have proper clothes on in the off chance that the doctors will look at you, see that you're dressed, presume you are well and send you home.*

Winter hospital clothing is quite easy, trackie dacks or yoga pants, a few loose tees and some cardies or zip up jackets.  Jumpers are no good due to cannulas sticking out of your arm in awkward places and having your obs done every hour or so.  I also like to buy the stretchy crop top bras because they are more comfortable to lounge around in if you feel the desire to bother putting one on.

Summer hospital attire is a little bit more difficult.  There really is nothing that compares in comfort and coolness to a pair of boxers.  I've purchased a few trial items such as knee length trackies but am still looking for just the right garment for the bottom half.  Yoga pants sometimes work okay as the air con is usually set to The North Pole.

Luckily at the moment it is Winter and my wardrobe now has sufficient amounts of trackie dacks and loose tees.  Luckily, I was up to date on my washing.

Have you ever shopped for a strange occasion?

* unfortunately this has not yet happened to me.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Wear, wash, iron, repeat


I have been known, once in a while, to insanely purchase clothing items that need ironing. 

I know, I know. 

I wear, wash, iron and repeat a few times and then I tend to get a bit stuck between the wash and iron stage of the cycle.  It's not because I hate ironing because I don't.  It's a much worse reason.  I am a bit of a lazy bum. 

This weekend I decided to do some ironing because MR needed a shirt ironed and I thought well, while I have it out I may as well do the rest.  There wasn't that much really.  Two dresses and a pair of pants of mine and six shirts of MR's.  And, wouldn't you know it, another pair of pants I forgot I even had.  I was ironing a pair of grey pants and tried to work out when I wore them last.  I think it was last Winter.  I thought to myself I should have bought a pair of these in black, these are nice pants. Continued ironing a couple more shirts and then what do you know, the next thing in the stack is a pair of black pants of the same style of the grey ones.

On the plus side, my work wardrobe options have just increased a lot more.

Are you a bit slack in some areas? Come on, make me feel like less of a lazy tart.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


That's the number of pages I have read so far this year. 30 books.

6 of them in the past 11 days. 

I finish one, faff around the house for a while doing odds and ends but not really committing to anything of real importance. 

And then start another. 

My bedside stack has dwindled to just one. 

Mass reading, while a definite holiday pleasure, is also a sign of mine. A sign of lack of coping. Of attempting to escape from something. 

In this case it's the empty house. My 'just weekends' now with MR are taking more adjustment than anticipated. It feels too much like a step backwards. It's not. But the less time together leaves an ache in my heart. I feel lost. 

The end of next year feels a very long way away. There are things to be done in that time. And then we can finally, after seven and a half years, live together full time. 


Friday, 12 July 2013

One week down, one (and a bit) to go

It's hard to believe the first week of my holidays is practically over already.  Usually it gets of to a much slower feeling start.

I spent the weekend in MR's home town where he is now working again.  He's staying with his parents so I did too, it was nice to get looked after for a couple of days.  They live on the edge of town, overlooking a paddock.  This was the lovely view greeting me outside each day.  Anyone see the legless rooster cloud?

I got to watch a really good game of netball by my old team, which actually has no one on it that I used to play with and also now has one of my ex-students.  Way to make me feel old!

It was incredibly freezing there on the weekend so I didn't get a lot of socialising done, I kept racing home in need of warming up.  But I did manage to light a fire myself for the first time in over 15 years.  My first attempt wasn't too successful but the next day I tried again and got it going first try.  I spent a fair bit of time cooking myself in front of it.

I also made a cheat's pavlova and a chicken and chorizo risotto for a family dinner on Monday.

And on Tuesday I got some help getting the binding ready and attached onto the baby quilt I started during the Summer holidays.  MR's Mum is an accomplished quilter (I have just finished selecting the fabric for her to make us one) so she was a great help getting me on the right track.  I've got one side of the binding all attached now and the corners are all pinned and I have done about a quarter of the hand stitching.  I don't think I blogged about this when I was making the top of the quilt so apart from the tiny sneak peek in the corner below, unless you follow me on instagram, you will have to wait to see the rest!

Since getting back on Tuesday evening, I've just been chilling at home, reading books, watching DVDs and The Ashes, stitching the binding and attempting to get on top of all the washing that seems to have built up to mammoth proportions.

Today I went for a massage this morning and now I am madly trying to push away the need for an afternoon nap.  I haven't had a nap yet these holidays and I actually had a sleep that was restful enough to rate as a good night's sleep two nights ago (sadly followed by a bad sleep last night) which is pretty rare for me. 

Unfortunately, the thought of school work has started to loom above my head with the almost half way point of the holidays.  Next week will need to be a bit more productive!


Thursday, 11 July 2013

A facelift is as good as a holiday

What? No, no not me.  Our house.

As mentioned previously, we recently got a bit of work done on the house.  We got our gutters replaced and the fascia painted.  It's been on the list to happen since last Winter and we finally got onto it. 

Previously they were both a particularly unpleasant shade of pooey-red which (in my opinion) did not at all go with our grey roof.  I am not overly fond of warm colours either which never helped the situation. 


We wanted blue gutters and seeing as there is only one shade of blue, Deep Ocean, in the Colourbond range, we went with that.  Nice to have an easy choice.

We had discussed getting the facsia painted at the same time but hadn't quite gotten ourselves sorted with a painter which we mentioned to our gutters tradesman when he was doing our quote.  He said he would bring a painter he knew over with him to give us a quote.  Brilliant, we thought.  So the day comes and they both arrive.  We get a Really Good quote for the fascia painting and ask when he might be free.  Today?  Excellent, but we haven't chosen a colour yet!

Luckily, when I was collecting colour samples for ideas for our walls I grabbed an outdoor colours card too.  We had about 3 minutes to make a decision (at 9am on a Saturday morning) before the painter was heading down to the get the paint and get started.  Sometimes, that pressure and limited lack of choices is a good thing or I would imagine it would have taken hours.  I chose a colour I liked, MR liked a different one.  I coaxed him around to my choice because his blue had green undertones and mine had grey undertones which would suit the roof better.  He thought it would be a bit light but let me have my way.  Looking at it all finished he says he likes it and I hope he's not just humouring me!

The gutters are off and the fascia has had its first coat.

All finished and looking SO much better

It really does look like a whole new house.   MR gave the bushes out the front a good pruning as well.  Our bedroom is to the right of the front door and that bush was blocking all the light which is fine in Summer but having it pruned right back in Winter makes such a big difference.  Afternoon sunshine comes in and lets the room warm up just a little bit.  Perfect!

Now we just need to get rid of the horrible red driveway and path.  Unfortunately it does not feature anywhere in the near future on our list of things to do!


Friday, 5 July 2013

New Frontiers

A friend of mine who is very fashionable buys almost all of her day to day clothes online.  And a lot of her going out clothes too.  She has labels she sticks with that she knows her sizing in and waits for the sales to hit the online store and then stocks up on mid range designer label items at not so high prices.

Even jeans.

I, on the other hand, have only once purchased an item of clothing online that I can remember.  It is a tshirt that I bought from etsy about 2 years ago with a cute tree print on it.  It is slightly too big, very thin and strangely (as usually I find the opposite to be the case) way too long.  I wear it over a singlet to pilates and this works fine. 

The thought of purchasing jeans online leaves me incredibly perplexed.  How is such a thing possible?? My friend is on the short side so does not have to worry, like I do, about the length of the leg being long enough.  But she also doesn't seem to worry about the online jeans purchase being bum flattening, or bum unflattering or for that matter, bum fattening.

And not only does she purchase jeans online, she also buys dresses.  Usually she likes to try the dress on instore first but on the occasion of the store not being located in WA, she is generally quite happy to just buy the dress anyhow.

As she explains this to me, and I look at her with an expression of dubious nature, my brain wonders if a) I am a particularly odd body shape that finds picking out clothes difficult; b) she is just the perfect body shape for most clothing brands; c) I am just incredibly fussy and picky or; d) she is just super self confident and happy in herself.

After pondering on this for a while momentarily I believe it is a hefty dose of c and a smaller combination of the rest. 

This phenomenon is not just isolated to my friend.  My sister is somewhat shoe obsessed and has taken to purchasing online brands of shoes unavailable in WA.  This is even more inconceivable to me than online jeans purchasing but I know this to most definitely be because I am incredibly fussy and have feet that blister up each season whether it be the change from havianas to my oldest most comfortable ballet flats or the reverse. 

So, I've decided to give this online shopping thing a try again. 

What I'd really like to buy but will not without trying it on
With another tshirt.  And one that is on sale!  I really don't think I will ever progress to jeans, dresses or shoes online unless I am purchasing an exact identical version of one I already have because I love it so much that I want it in a different colour or a spare one for when the first dies.  I suppose it helps that looser style tops are rather fashionable at the moment so it doesn't matter if the tee is too big. 

One cute tee coming to a letterbox outside my house soon

So here's my choice.  Stay tuned for a review of fit and liking of style once it arrives.

Do you buy clothes online?


Monday, 1 July 2013

Looking forward

Right now there's lots of good stuff to be looking forward to and about.  Both event wise and life moments.

I saw my haematologist today and my Leukaemia cells are at their lowest ever.  Last month they were at 0.057 and this month they are at 0.022 which is an excellent drop for a one month period.  My next test is in three months time now so I've got my fingers crossed I'll get another zero on the right side of that point mark.  Either way, I'm feeling very positive right now!

There's two days left of Kindy until I'm on school holidays.

I'm heading to MRs home town this weekend for a bit of time with him and his family.  He had his first week of work at home and enjoyed being busy and working with the tools again after being office-bound management for quite a while on the mines.

On the weekend there will be some quilt finishing by me and some quilt starting by MR's Mum who is making us a quilt which I think I have finally finished selecting fabrics for.

I've made plans with four friends for four different catch ups over the holidays.  Movies and lunches and afternoon teas.  And hopefully I'll manage to fit in a few more catch ups along the way.

And super exciting, we had some work done on the house this weekend just been.  It's not entirely finished so no photos yet.  The workman is back tomorrow to finish it off and I can't wait to show you what we have had done.  I am so pleased with it and it is our first big change to the place since moving in two years and three months ago.  What a long time we took to get to this point!!

Have you got some lovely things on the horizon? 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

New Zealand?

There are tentative plans in our household for a visit to New Zealand during the October school holidays.  'Fabulous!' you think.  What fun to plan.  But unfortunately, at this point we are a little bit stuck on actually being able to go part of the planning phase.

You see, when you have Leukaemia and an addition dose of a liver transplant, travel insurance companies seem inclined to laugh in your face when you suggest maybe they could insure you.

Rude, I know.

I've looked at a few places so far and they have a list of medical conditions that exclude you from getting travel insurance and whilst Leukaemia hasn't been on any of them, an organ transplant is. 

Thankfully, there is an organisation called Transplant Australia, of which I am a member.  They hold the Transplant Games (fun Olympic like games for transplantees) and there is a World Transplant Games which requires transplantees to travel somewhere in the world for the games.  Of course, they will need travel insurance for such a thing and so Transplant Australia has partnered with a company that will (in most cases) provide it. (AIG Travel Insurance for anyone interested)  Phew!

I rang them today and now need to get multiple medical forms and letters from my specialists stating my conditions and the status of said conditions and then I get to fax them off and then ring to talk to the insurance company's medical team to do an assessment of whether or not I can be insured.

And then, if they decide they will insure me, we will be able to get on with booking flights and planning our adventures.

So fingers crossed.

And, where would you suggest I visit if we do get to go?  I'm thinking awesome crafty places, cool shops and lots of nature places. 

We'll be going for 10 days with probably 6 in north island (MR has lots of family there) and 4 in south.  Already on our list is glow worm caves, natural hot pools, a big flying fox and a bit of snow and lots of green.  If they let us go at all...

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Celebrity Stalking

Today I was reading Maggie Alderson's blog, Maggie Alderson's Style Notes, which I regularly do as I am a big fan of her books and columns.  I got to the bottom of the page, past the comments and saw a link to her instagram account.

You can imagine my next move.  Of course, I grabbed my phone and hunted her down, started following her and then looked at every single one of her pictures (in my defence, there is not a huge amount of them).  After which I felt like a bit of a stalker. 

I'm not a trashy magazine, celebrity loving sort of gal.  When asked that question of "Which three famous people would you invite to your dinner party?" I cannot instantly rattle off ten names, protesting my inability to narrow it down any further.

However, I have realised I am a bit of an author stalker.  Of the three 'celebrities' I follow via social media, all of them are authors.  I realised this this morning after I finished stalking Maggie Alderson.

I follow her blogs (she has two) and now her on instagram.  I also follow Zoe Foster on instagram.  And I first read her books because Maggie Alderson had done a front cover blurb on one of them.  Also, she is incredibly hilarious, has great beauty tips and Meowbert is awesome. I don't yet read her blog because I feel I would be tempted to just buy all of the beauty products she recommends.  And that would cost lots of money.  Of course, now that I have opened her blog so I could link it here I am destined to the failure of ever paying off my credit card.

My third author stalkee is Patrick Rothfuss, the author of The Name of the Wind, which after my first read, instantly became my most favouritest book of all time EVER. What a storyteller than man is.  I read his blog and follow him on facebook.  Each post is like a short story.  Totally excellent, completely satisfying. 

Not including the Australian blog world celebrities of which I follow a couple via their blogs and/or instagram, I don't follow any others.  No actors, models, sports stars.  And that's not to say I don't enjoy a movie, a bit of fashion or watching a game of sport (preferably cricket) on tv.  I totally do.  We have four drawers of movies here and two shelves of tv shows on dvd.  It is MR's thing.  And it is perfect to crochet alongside of a movie.

So it is interesting, but not overly surprising for me to note I am an author fan.  Maybe those three people would be the ones I would invite to a dinner party?  Poor Patrick Rothfuss might feel a bit out of place...  (although, reading his blog, I really don't think he would be at all)

Do you follow any celebrities via social media?  Who?  Are they all of a particular genre? 


Sunday, 23 June 2013

This week...

we got a dishwasher. We haven't had one up til now and I am on cloud nine. Every time I put a dirty dish in it I get a big grin on my face and when I turn it on (twice so far) I have clapped my hands and bounced with glee.

I finished my Kindy reports a day early. This is big for me, usually I am the type that hands things in a day or two late. Being on time has never been my strong point. So to finish and hand them in a whole 24 hours before they are due was a super exciting and proud moment for me. It also meant a weekend ahead of no school work. *ahhhhhh*

I baked, twice. Sago and banana bread. Can you guess the reason why? (Hint: see point one) Baking and no dishes afterwards? My kind of bliss.

I caught up with my best friend for a movie (Monsters University) and waffles. We felt like we were in high school again as we both chose mint fudge choc chip ice cream, the flavour of choice from those years.

I bought a new pair of jeans and only paid $35 for them. Enough said.

I have managed to schedule in a don't-leave-the-house, pyjama-filled day of reading, blogging and relaxing.

I have indulged on naughty forbidden treats; blue brie and pate. Oh how I love them. I'm on antibiotics at the moment so I figure they will kill any bad things hiding in them. This is my justification anyhow.

And finally, this week marks the end of MR's break after finishing up on the mines after 6 years! Unfortunately he is not now living full time with me but instead we have swapped locations from when we were first going out. Now he will be in his country home town working at the family business and I am in Perth. We're back to (as many as we can possibly fit in) weekend visitations after two years of approximately one week of three visitations. I'm a bit sad about it but it also marks the start of the next chapter in our lives together and I'm sure I'll get used to it again. I'll be in Perth probably until the end of next year and then I'll be heading back to the country as well.

How has your week been?


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

"I'll just..."

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Perhaps the most rampant aspect of my inner five year old self is the "I'll just..." part.  As in the I'll just do anything at all that keeps me out of bed for one more minute.

We all have our bedtime routines.  Mine involves fill up water bottle, turn out lights and check locks, take off makeup (if I haven't already), floss (if I can be bothered), brush teeth, go to toilet, go get the Meow, get in bed, have a drink, put on lip balm, set alarm if needed, have cuddles with Meow, turn out lights and if MR is home, talk his ear off for as long as he will let me.

Some of the other things I'll just do before going to bed (usually when MR is not at home) on a very regular basis include:
- playing with hairstyle options in front of the mirror
- tweezing my eyebrows
- checking facebook, instagram and the weather on my phone
- playing words with friends
- looking at pinterest on my phone
- reading just one more chapter of my book, which undoubtedly will turn into another 100 pages
- going to find the Meow (who has crazily run off to go back outside to sit on her favourite chair in the freezing cold) for some more cuddles
- after all of the above, go to the toilet - again
- anything else I can think of to procrastinate with

No matter how tired I am, I will still do these things.  I just have this intrinsic urge to rebel against all going to bed type actions.

The Meow has no such rebellious behaviour in regards to going to bed type actions

Admittedly, of late my sleep patterns have gotten slightly better.  I'm going to bed a bit earlier (most nights) and while I've had a few nights this week of lying awake for hours once in bed, those sort of nights are on a decline.  Thank fuck.  It's been hard work getting this far though and by going to bed earlier I mean instead of 1am it's more like 11.45pm.  11 if I'm really, really, really tired. 

Last night, while procrastinating from sleeping and thinking of this blog post I thought, I'll just pop on blogger on my phone and type in a few notes.

The Gods are one day going to smite me one day with a child just like me aren't they?


Monday, 22 April 2013

Many Good Things

Today is the first day of school holidays.

Need I say more about good things when the above is the case?

Not really, but I shall.

Not only was it the first day of school holidays but I also woke up to rain on the roof.  How good is rain of the roof when you get to stay in bed?

I am still in my pyjamas and it is 3:15pm.

I got to have yummy banana bread that I baked yesterday for breakfast.

The house is relatively clean because MR vacuumed yesterday.

I managed to find the energy to do a double batch of baking yesterday as well as go to Brown Owls, (amazing what you can get done when you don't need to conserve energy for a week of work) and so MR has headed back to work this morning with two containers of ANZAC biscuits to snack on (his favourite).  

I went to Brown Owls yesterday and had fun chatting and stitching away at this.

I have a $100 reward shopper voucher from Picnic/Hobbs and a $20 one from Myer burning a hole in my wallet for some retail therapy later in the week.

I have a massage booked for Friday.

I have a lovely stack of books from the library just waiting to be read.

My cold seems to be getting better.

MR and I went to Cirque du Soleil's Ovo show during the week and it was just as amazing as expected.  And the bouncing lizards?  Even more amazing!

My baking cupboard has been reorganised as well as finding enough space to have a dedicated pots, pans and frying pans cupboard.  (Today's job is to reorganise the plastics cupboard and tomorrow's job is the pantry)

We got our soil tested on the weekend and have started the steps to improve it so things will actually grow.

In the small area of the garden where things do actually grow, there are buds on my loquat tree for the first time which will hopefully turn into fruit.

And best of all, Summer seems to have finally ended, leaving Autumn a chance to shine (and pour, as it did all night and morning).


What is good in your world at the moment?