Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Six months in

Six months! Six whole months! We have been living in the new place for six months! And what have we done in that time....not a whole lot! 

I have plans. Oh, do I have plans! But I don't have a lot of time. Or available funds. Or a clear path of how I should tackle all these plans.

Im doing the whole 'do a little bit in every room at the same time so the whole house looks in renovation stage for a really, unnecessarily long time' thing.

I just get an idea, and instantly feel inspired to try it out regardless if the 5 year old's bedroom is still covered in paint swatches and pictures waiting to be hung on freshly painted walls. 

case in point.



more paint swatches and trim work



even the pergola is covered in swatches!

I started the pergola first. Ten days after we moved in I felt compelled to paint it a sultry shade of charcoal. The bits that I have done look uh-mazing!But then it got hot-waaaay hot. Then I just wasn't motivated. And now it is cold, waaaay cold. And I look out there wistfully every day imagining how awesome it will look once its finished. And I think to myself 'today I will just go out there and start painting'. But then I do something else.  

But little lady is the clear winner in this here 'battle of the rooms'. Her room is actually, very nearly DONE! I'm not even joking. She had a very clear brief. Pink. 'Pink walls Mummy'. I protested. I tried persuading her my way. I had a vision of her room and pink walls were not in that vision. But how could I resist? She is very persuasive! In the end, we have compromised. She got her pink walls, but I chose the shade and got to stick gold polka dots over them.

MY original vision for her bedroom. Vintage yellow wallpaper, reclaimed furniture, mismatched decor and bedding...




sneek peak of her actual bedroom


I  must apologise for the sh*t quality of photos. A little photography course is on my to-do list but until then, its iPhone photos all the way. 

I still need to paint the trim in her room and now that I have finally decided on which shade that will be (Dulux Vanilla Quake) , I just need a day where she doesn't mind being kicked out of her own room all day again. 

Until then, ill keep chipping away at every single room in our house, a little bit at a time, just enough to drive the husbot completely insane. 

Lisa 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year,New House!!

You may have noticed my not so subtle hint to this in my last post. And after months and months of emails, phone calls, meetings, open inspections and the inevitable hoop jumping, I can finally say officially that we have BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE!!! 



It still feels so surreal. I mean, just mere months ago I didn't think this was going to be possible for a very long time. I know people buy and sell houses every day, but not us. We have been in this little house for a very, very long time and part of me just couldn't imagine ever leaving it.

We knew it was going to be that much more difficult given our self-employment, and that the market is still not great but I'm a big believer in fate and everything just fell into place...eventually. 

The new house is not a little house. It is a big house. A very big house. 4 big bedrooms all with walk-in-robes. The master bedroom with a huge double en-suite. A massive theatre room and an even bigger open plan living, games and dining. It is three times the size of our little house!

the NEW house-we have big plans for this area!


The new house is also exactly that, new. It is only four years old and comes complete with solar panels on the roof and a generous supply of rain water. So even though the size of the house is bigger, our environmental impact wont be. 

It is not our forever house. It is not our dream house. But it is definitely a house we can see ourselves in for maybe another ten years. Where our kids will go from pre-schoolers all the way through to teenagers....what a scary thought!

Even though it is relatively new, and modern, there is alot we want to change and update. Which is perfect! We weren't looking for a house that we loved everything about it. We were looking for a bigger house, in a nicer part of our suburb, on a decent size block with good 'bones' (high ceilings-tick!)

So the new house comes with a very long to-do list:
~front landscaping
~update front door
~paint entire house (each room including painting over the grey! skirting boards and architraves!!)
~replace all window furnishings
~update bathrooms (new tiles, fixtures)
~complete re-do of the kitchen (this time were going BLACK!)
~light fixtures throughout
~re-paint back pergola
~new shed for the husband

on the maybe list:
~render front of house
~change double roller doors to one single panel lift door
~update the back porch area from pavers to decking 
~a pool!!! (hoping, wishing!!)

Im beyond excited and I can not wait to get started on making this new house our new home. It will take a little longer to put the $ away for renovations this time around (bigger house=bigger mortgage) but I'm going to be looking for serious money saving options, DIY where possible, second-hand items and ways to save money in our day-to-day lives to put more towards funding these projects. 

Im really looking forward to the challenge of transforming a typical character-less modern 'mc-mansion' into a character-filled, beautiful, unique and stylish home. 

We will miss our little house. It is still weird to think we wont live here anymore...
forever this will be, our first little house


Happy New Year!! Here's to new beginnings!

 Lisa xx

Friday, December 20, 2013

A 'Lila' Loopsy 3rd birthday party

So Lila turned 3 a few days ago. My sweet little baby girl. No longer a baby and barely a toddler. She is heading in to 'preschooler' territory. 

And for this past year, she has been obsessed with the idea of having a 'la la loopsy party'. It is all she has talked about-for a whole year! The funny thing is, she had never even seen a la la loopsy episode. We dont have pay tv. She just happened to see the toys at a friends house one day and has not stopped talking about them ever since. 


DIY La La Loopsy invitations

our sweet little 'crumbs sugar cookie'


complete with 'only-for-the-birthday-girl' headband


and just because Lila was dressing up, Marley had to as well. 


Really getting in to character...

viola! I cant tell if it's creepy or cute. Either way, would of made a great Halloween costume had it not been her birthday party

Pink, orange and yellow were the colours of the party. Complete with lots of clashing patterns!


DIY 'Crumbs Sugar Cookie' cake 

Vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing and sugar buttons

cloud  sugar cookies with blue 'stitching' detail

pink and yellow striped paper straws in DIY washi taped jar


thank you bags

self serve drink station with colourful dotty paper cups

 We had the party at home and it was so nice to have our friends and family here for one last soiree in the little house........wait, whaaaaaat!?!! 
Yes, you read that right..... More on that to come!


I wont bore you with all the itty bitty decorating details but if you have any questions about what, why or how I did something, or where I sourced something, please feel free to add your questions in to the comments section. 

 Lisa xx





Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The long awaited Kitchen Renovation: Part 2-'during'

The 'during' phase of our kitchen renovation was actually eighteen long months of 'nearly finished'. Once the cupboards were all installed, it was then a matter of waiting for each tradie and more $$ to finish off every.other.element.


going...

...going....


gone! ( Ok forgot to get a completely 'gone' photo so this will have to do)

new cupboards have arrived! Picture me squealing with absolute delight here!


The kitchen was installed on New Years Eve, 2011. A great end to a crappy year and a fresh new start for 2012!




I could show you more of the 'during' pics. Like what it looked like once all the cupboards were in but before the plastering was finished, before the glass splash back was on and, before our feature lighting was installed, but that would give away the ending!

But for now, how about a sneak peak?




Lisa xx











Friday, August 9, 2013

The long awaited Kitchen Renovation: Part 1-'before'

Many, many years ago in a little beach side town, way down South in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, a guy bought a block of land and had a little house built to put on it. That guy and his young girlfriend moved into that little 'starter' house with every intention of moving on to bigger and better things in the not-so-distant future.....

TWELVE LONG YEARS have passed since then and that guy and his girlfriend (who is now his wife) are STILL THERE! But now they have two children and a pup as well. All living (squishing) in to the little house.

The wife had never liked the kitchen or the bathrooms. Timber veneer cupboards with black 'marble' laminate. Really? What was he thinking?? So when the wife came to the very sad realisation that they may have to continue living in the little house for a year (or 5!) more due to the husbands hugely scary, risk-fuelled, self-employment status (note: sarcasm, banks are stupid!) she hatched a little plan to make the little house a little more comfortable. The kitchen was by far the most menacing, ugly, impractical, way-too-small-to-be-functional space in the house. It had.to.go!

But as always, there was a budget to consider. A very tight budget. The wife started perusing her huge stash of decorating mags and pinning images to her 'kitchen reno' pinterest page. They checked out ikea, bunnings and various instal-it-yourself kitchen companies. When the wife finally had the husband convinced to proceed, he pulled out the old 'well actually I know a guy that could come and build us a kitchen relatively cheap' card and voila, wheels in motion. 

Kitchen guy came over and within minutes, the wife knew they were on the same page. He had all these amazing ideas, ones she hadn't even considered. He went away and a few days later texted the husband with a rough price. It was nearly double what they were hoping to spend with the DIY approach but the husband really values his own time and to him, the extra $$ were worth it. Besides, in the grand scheme of kitchen reno's, this was still waaaaaay cheap!

So, what did it look like before......??

It was a dark, u-shaped kitchen with an angled bench and a built-in-pantry. It had one set of cutlery drawers, a useless corner cupboard and no over-head cupboards to speak of. The bench had no over-hang so it didn't have the dual purpose of being a breakfast bar as well. And the worst part of all, it didn't have a dishwasher! And, as mentioned before, orangey timber veneered cupboards with a black benchtop and white tiled splashback. 

dark and cluttered

View from the dining room
The corner pantry was huge, but it blocked a lot of natural light coming in from the sliding doors to the left of it


The view from the living room

Want to see what it looks like now? Check back in for Part 2-'during' and Part 3-'after'


Lisa xx
Wow, this is my third post in three days. On.a.roll! 

An Adelaide gals guide to Melbourne-the 2013 edition.

I have just returned from the most amazing weekend in Melbourne. If you love good food, drinks, art, design and shopping, then you will know what I am talking about. 
I have been to Melbourne many times before but this time, we just seemed to get it right. I think it helped that we went sans children and husbands. It was just us gals, and all the time in the world to go where we wanted for as long as we wanted. 

Im by no means a Melbourne expert, in fact, on my own I would get quite lost. But I know good food and shopping when I see it. 

So, you have three days in Melbourne with your girlfriends. What to do? Where to go?

My must do's in Melbourne:

BREAKFAST: Anywhere in Degraves Street. We went to RBM and The Quarter and both were amazing! Degraves is crazy busy in the mornings but be patient, its worth the wait for a table. 

sweet decor at The Quarter
My breakfast at The Quarter. 

Graces Cafe in Fitzroy. Great to sit out the front on the milk-crates-come-stools and people-watch the uber-trendy artsy folk that ride around on vintage inspired bicycles in their designer jeans and grandpa cardi's. 

DINNER:  Movida  Ive been to both the original on Hosier Lane and Movida Aqui. Both are just....just....incredible, amazing, mouth-watering, delicious, insatiable. The mushrooms. You MUST order the mushrooms! The margheritas are pretty damn good also, but at $17.50 a pop, go easy. Order a jug of sangria as well to drink in between. 

BOOK EARLY! At least 3 months in advance....
Cocktails at Movida

 Chin Chin They don't take bookings but again, be patient, its worth the wait. Go to Chin Chin, give them your name, number of diners and your mobile and they will text you when your table is ready. What to do in the meantime? Head downstairs to the Go Go bar for some cocktails. 
Herbal tea at Chin Chin

Transport Bar For a casual feed and a cider. Great atmosphere and very cool interior. I love their salt'n'pepper squid. 

TREAT: So we didn't really do lunch as we were always too full from breakfast and then not wanting to spoil our appetite for dinner. But there is always room for coffee and a cake or a macaroon or a cupcake or a brownie or, or, or.....

Last year we went to the Lindt cafe on Collins Street. I have never tasted such an indulgent, decadent hot chocolate. My choice? The dark chocolate with soy. One word:yum! And it always tastes better when you have been outside shopping in the chilly Melbourne weather.  

This year we tried Koko Black in Chadstone. Again, wow! My tip? The dessert degustation to share with a friend or two. And at only $22, surprisingly affordable for such decadent, edible works of art. They also had dairy free treats as well which pleased my dairy-free friend to no end!

'Dessert Degustation'  at Koko Black
All credit for organising this years trip goes to this gal, my bestie Casey 

I also cant go past a Starbucks when I'm in Melbourne. I just love their silky, sweet style of coffee and they don't have any left in Adelaide any more.  

SHOP: Ok so there are the obvious Bourke Street Mall, Chapel Street, Chadstone Shopping Centre and all the DFO's. But when I'm in Melbourne, I want to find things I cant find in Adelaide. So this year, we booked an op shop tour with Melbourne Op Shop Tours. Laura, from A little Boutique Near Home was our very knowledgeable and friendly guide. I finished the tour with 3 bags full and a lot more cash remaining in my purse than I would of expected. My best bargains? A near new Wish cami for $8 and a pair or Zoe Witner tan pumps for $14. We did southern Melbourne this year, so next year we will book in for a northern suburbs tour as recommended by Laura. 

my op shop tour best buys

But by far, the Rose Street Artists Markets were the highlight of the trip for me. Open every Saturday and Sunday on Rose Street in Fitzroy. Lots of cute and kitsch handmade hair accessories and jewellery ( I stocked up big time for the little lady), amazing collections by local artists from sculptures and clay works, to paintings and photography. And lots and lots of random, awesome things you didn't know you needed like a hot air balloon key ring (me) or a lego brick bag tag (Marley) or a strange, movable, super hero fridge magnet (Marley....ok, me)  But just an incredible amount of talent and amazing, friendly, funny, creative people.


My favourite stalls?
Able and Game This guy has a wicked sense of humour. We spent a good 20 minutes laughing at his hilarious greeting cards. I came home with 3, but I could have purchased so many more. 
Happy Fathers Day Dad

Vavaf-she had the most amazing yet too-delicate-for-me-to-take-home collection featuring sweet little birds and caged wire. Truly beautiful
Louie and the Fox-cute handmade earrings, hair accessories inc. hair scarves, embroidered baby clothes and the most gorgeous little soft  'tool sets' for little ones. One very special little guy is getting his very own set this weekend. 
Chubby Turtle-cool, simplistic designs for the boys. 
There were a few other stalls I bought from but im kicking myself I didnt pay attention to their shop names or grab a business card! But trust me, you wont be able to not buy something!
I wish I could remember the artists name. He had a great collection. This guy is hanging in my hallway.
 A great photographic print from a guy that travels through Africa taking photos and bringing it home to Aus, turning them into artsy prints and blocks. 

I just needed this guy on my fridge. 


Its going to be hard to top this years trip but we have already started our to-do list for next year. On the list?

Lygon St for some Italian
Adrian Richardsons restaurant La Luna Bistro
Madame Brussels on Bourke St
Malvern for shopping
Northern suburbs op-shop tour
A little Offspring stalking in Fitzroy perhaps?
and maybe next year, we might fit in a little art gallery perusing or some pampering of some kind. I came home with very sore feet, hung over and exhausted this year but it was worth it of course.

Im also headed back there in October with the family. But it will be more of an Aquarium/Zoo trip with the kids in tow. 

What are your must-do's for Melbourne? 

Lisa xx















Thursday, August 8, 2013

So there was another baby. And then there wasn't....

You heard it right folks. We finally made our decision. To have another baby or not to have another baby? We went with 'to have'. 
We took the plunge, did the deed and got ourselves (myself) well and truly knocked up with the long awaited and highly anticipated baby number 3. 
I had been going over it all in my head for months and months. Weighing up all the pros and cons over and over and over again. Can we do this? Will we cope? Will I cope with 3 kids at home? 
What if we have twins.....?!?!
Do we have the room? 
Will we still be able to travel, go on family outings, afford private schooling??
Will we be able to afford to eat????
Urgh, Ill get fat again. And unfit. Could I possibly end up with any more stretch marks??
Does it really matter.....

There I was. Having this debate with myself, inside my own head again when suddenly I had an answer for all those questions.

Yes we can do this. Yes we will cope, we always do. And yes I will cope, because being a mother is the most important thing in the world to me. I wont not cope.

If we have twins, we have twins. It will be scary and awesome and cute and loud and expensive all at the same time. 

I lived in a house much smaller than ours with 4 other children for a decent chunk of my childhood-yes, we have the room. Kids can share a bedroom. It wont kill them.

Travel and family outings will just take a little more time and consideration, but they wont need to cease to exist. 

Private schooling? The more kids you have, the bigger the discount. We'll be fine. 

We will always be able to afford to eat. C'mon woman, stop being so melodramatic. 

Get fat, unfit and end up with even more stretch marks? Probably. But you've survived twice before and you can do it again. 

And you know what, the day I had this 'epiphany' of sorts, just so happened to be on a day I was ovulating (according to my period tracker app thingy). When the husband arrived home that night I put it all to him with a 'no pressure, if it happens it happens but I was kind of thinking we should just go for it' approach. Mister 'play-it-cool, I don't care if we have another baby or not' was a little more eager than I expected. 

And that was all it took. Yes, we are that couple. The ones who think about having a baby and magically become pregnant. Luckily we have only thought of it 3 times because otherwise we might have a whole soccer team trying to share 2 bedrooms and 3 car seats...

But that was where our luck ended.

I knew pretty much straight away that I was pregnant again. I could sense all the subtle changes. I was doubtful though, even I didn't think I could fall pregnant three times in a row, first try each time. But 10 days later that familiar faintest-of-faintest lines started to appear on the first of many home pregnancy tests. I think I did about 15 before feeling confident enough to go to the GP and get the process started. I was about 4+4 at that visit so when I did the pee test and it was barely visible, the GP seemed a little doubtful that I was pregnant. And then she got my blood test results. My HCG levels were only 35. I didn't know what that meant then as I had never known my number before. I had never needed to know. But apparently it wasn't a good sign. My GP tried to reassure me by telling me I just wasn't as far along as I thought, but I knew my dates. Still I persisted and tried to remain positive. I had another blood test done 48 hours later. My levels had tripled to 102. There was hope. But after way too much google 'research' I realised that this was still way too low for 5 weeks pregnant. 

My name is Lisa and I'm a POAS addict!

(If you look closely, they each have a faint second line that gets darker each time. The next day the clearblue digital was a positive-they aren't as sensitive as regular tests)

I was stressing myself out, obsessing over every little twinge or pregnancy symptom. The first sign of any nausea, fatigue or food aversion I would rejoice. Then panic would set in and I would resign myself to waiting to lose the baby at the first sign of any cramping. Then there was spotting. I didn't spot with the others. I just knew things weren't right. I wanted so desperately to be wrong. But I just knew. 

At 6+4 weeks, I went in for an early dating scan. I had had another lot of bloods done a few days earlier. They had risen to 706. Still too low, but they were rising.I went into that scan with the faintest flicker of hope. But as I lay there in that cold, dimly lit room with the strange looking cross-eyed man, on a bed that was stained and being scanned with equipment that had not even been unpacked from its bag yet, all hope was lost. He looked confused. I asked him what was wrong. He told me he couldn't find the baby. All this time my google research had told me I had a blighted ovum. I had imagined this scene so many times. Me laying there on the bed, seeing an empty sac on the screen. The beginnings of a baby, but one that was just not meant to be. But to be told I was faking it! What the hell!?! 'No, no, no I mean, I think you have an ectopic pregnancy' 'What do you mean you think?' 'Well, I cant find a sac in your uterus but I can see something in one of your tubes'. Oh.....

That afternoon my GP rang me. I had mentioned to the sonographer that I had had a stitch like pain in my right side all morning. I had initially shrugged it off as I had been holding in my pee for the scan, but to be told I had a possible ectopic pregnancy in my right tube, I wondered if it was related. He assured me it wasn't. My GP on the other hand was very concerned and once I told her that my right shoulder was really achy as well, she gave me very strict orders to head straight into the ED. In a bitter sweet turn of events, I was already headed in there. To be by my little sisters side while she was in labour with her very first baby. 

Shit suddenly got real at the hospital. I was still in shock up until that point. I was still holding onto an even tinier flicker of hope, but it was still there. I didn't have any pain or discomfort when I was lying in the hospital bed. So maybe they got it wrong?Maybe I'm not as far along as I thought? I pleaded with the doctors to let me go and see my sister. It wasn't that far away and I was feeling fine. They hadn't even done another scan yet so how could they be sure? Why were they talking about surgery and removing my baby and my tubes? Why was there such a wave of panic surrounding me? I felt fine. I was starting to get pissed off. I could sense them becoming increasingly frustrated with my relentless disbelief. Then one of them suddenly turned to me and said straight out
 'Lisa, this is very, very real. We can see it clearly on the scan from earlier today. You are in very real danger and if you leave here, and your tube bursts, you could die. You are not going anywhere'.

Cue hysterical crying and overwhelming guilt.

Crying for the baby I wasn't sure I wanted and the one who was now not going to be. Guilt for feeling scared of having another child and questioning whether I made the right decision in the first place. Crying for the possibility that if things go wrong in the surgery, I could be left without the opportunity to ever conceive another baby. More crying for the realisation that I wasn't going to be able to be by my sisters side. I hadn't told her I was pregnant yet, I was waiting for the right moment. My poor Mum had been going back and forth between my room and hers, trying to keep it a secret so as to not distract her while she was in labour. In the end, we had to tell her. And we both cried together. 

My surgery was scheduled for the very next day, first thing in the morning. They removed my little baby and my right tube. Apparently, it is better to completely remove the affected tube then to leave it and risk a future baby getting 'stuck' in there again. Still, it felt weird to know it, and my baby, were gone. 



The doctors and nurses marvelled at the coincidence of two sisters being in the same hospital at the same time, only for one to be having surgery to deliver a baby and one to be having surgery to remove one. I marvelled at the irony that even though my little nephew was born on the 19th, as were both of my children, therefore carrying on the special meaning of that date for our family, our little tube baby was also lost on the 19th. Hows that for irony?

More than 2 months have passed since we lost the baby. Physically, I am recovered and am back to my usual self. Emotionally, I am so much better than I thought I would be. I think it helps that I kind of knew all along that things weren't going to end well. My little nephew is thriving and he is such a delight. I am grateful that my sister got to have a healthy baby. It would not have been right for things to have been the other way around. I have two healthy, happy beautiful children and now she has one of her own.

Welcome to the world William
And as time passes and we come closer to being allowed to try again, we are back to square one. Back to the should we? Shouldn't we? Back to this. Although now there is the added 'con' of if we fall pregnant again and it turns out to be another ectopic pregnancy, than that will be it, all over folks, no more babies ever. I'm not ready to have that taken away from me just yet. 

So in the meantime I'm keeping myself crazy busy, the way I seem to like it. I have been actively trying to finish off all of my half-finished projects like painting the house, Lila's rag quilt, boring bookwork and tax stuff. We have booked a family holiday to Fiji in October and Id be lying if I said I wasn't excited to be able to make use of the all-inclusive alcohol package. Cocktails in the pool bar? Yes please! And, I have just returned from my annual girls weekend away in Melbourne and I am in a cultural, food and design hangover. Whilst feeling inspired and creative and hopeful. Hence my return to the blogosphere. 


Bring on October!
Im not going to make any ridiculous promises of daily or even weekly posts. That aint my style. But I do intend on finishing my grateful project and I still have a way to go since I made this public declaration.  There has been progress folks, progress! Oh and there have been a few happenings about the old 'little house' itself. So I will see y'all soon. 

Lisa xx