Monday, October 31, 2011

This Morning

This morning I would like to be in Paris.

...sitting here, under a cosy blanket, in a little cafe in Rue St Dominique.

....peering in the window while sipping my coffee, umming and ahhing over what to have for breakfast.

I'll just finish this before I do the school lunches.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 28, 2011

So I Went For A Run

This is my all time favourite running quote. 

It's so motivating that I read it this morning, when I was putting this post together, and promptly decided to go for a run instead of finishing this post. Seriously... THAT motivating!

It's all true... well for me anyway. I took up running a year ago as I needed to do something 'fierce', exhausting, challenging and exhilarating. Tick, tick, tick and tick.

The best thing about running... is waking your body up as the outside world wakes up.....

... oh, and being out amongst pretty things...

... that smell nice too...

...and stumbling upon hidden treasures in your neighbourhood....

.... and being reminded by the universe to.... "never forget Paris"..... (said in a whisper for best effect)...

.... and coming home to this....

... and this....

... and being able to eat this (yes, more from Justine's kitchen).

So I got here, better late than never... to wish you a 'Happy Weekend'.
Thanks for visiting me this week and for all your 'lively contributions' to my comments sections.
I so appreciate you.


Oh and 'Duck' says 'hi'... I think he's being deflated next week.
I'll miss him.

'Duck' yesterday

Oh, and hey, there are some more great running quotes I am collecting over at Pinterest  HERE... if you're interested. If you're not, carry on. xx

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gotta Love An Empty House

Cam, from Urban Images, photographs beautiful homes.  From time to time he emails me the ones he thinks I would like. He's always spot on. 

Rumour has it that 'K', the clever lady who was in charge of this beautiful renovation in the western suburbs of Brisbane, drew inspiration from my house posts! Chuffed.

Oh how I would fill this room! A beautiful blank canvas. See the original transoms and original French door? And look down the hall, there is a beauty of a built-in bookcase down there. There is something about VJ's (or beading as they call it in the other hemisphere).... look they're on the ceiling too. Deep sighs.

French doors at the end of a kitchen. Perfection. I am a sucker for French doors running off anything. All the cabinets were hand made and hand brush painted. Look at all those lovely drawers. See the slope of the ceiling? This originally would have been a verandah or a 'sleep-out'. I love how you can see some of the original history peeping out of the renovation. 

Oh my, look at all that space... opening out onto a deck in the treetops. Nice lights! That's a handsome transom too.

There's the laundry off to the side? .. all within easy reach. Originally thought it was the Butler's? With another beautiful door/window letting in heaps of light. Definitely looks like it all was originally a beautiful big verandah. Love the interest that the sloping ceiling adds.

This study sits off the kitchen. I can see a beautiful lamp in that corner. Imagine the bookcase filled with books and pretty vignettes. A good spot to blog while keeping an eye on the stove. Hmmm, well thought out!

I swear they are my floor tiles. Almost positive. I could pick 'em a mile away. 'Grey with rivers of white' was how I used to describe them. That's them. Beautiful mirror!

Oh another door at the end of a room! I am also a sucker for glass doors at the end of laundries!... letting in heaps of light. Look at those beautiful chunky moldings. I can see rattan baskets in that space under the drawers. Aren't the walls a beautiful colour. Spill it Cam and 'K'. Someone's going to ask me!

Original feature. Preserved forever. Lovely.

Thank you Cam and 'K' for sharing this beautiful home. I have mentally furnished it, 'rugged' it, accessorised it, curtained it and embellished it with fresh flowers... bathed in all that beautiful natural light.

A lovely start to Thursday. Coffee time. Slept in 'til 4.30am this morning. What is wrong with me!

Have a happy day.... oh hey, and thanks for all your scrambled egg tips. Confession. After I wrote that post yesterday, and got the boys off to school, I sat and ate another round of Justine's eggs while answering my morning emails. She had a giggle that her eggs made 'the blog'. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Tried, I Really Tried.

I tried to replicate the 'special scrambled eggs' that Justine cooks for me in her little coffee shop, 'Posto', in Boundary St, West End. I am seriously addicted to them and often only do half a run, 'cause when I run past, I stop to have her 'special scrambled eggs'..... and then have to walk home, full of scrambled eggs and coffee.

Failed miserably. Looks sort of disgusting doesn't it. A bit too 'real'. I didn't have any fresh basil either.

If anyone can tell me the secret to seriously good scrambled eggs I will change my last born's name to yours (sorry little K). No really, tell me....and don't say 'cream' because my Dietitan friends (#Australia's Leading Dietitian) read this blog and I'll get into trouble. Well if you do have to say cream, just whisper it..... because I really need to know. 
PS Totally off topic, 'Apartment Therapy' has a really great article on decluttering over HERE.... reminding us all that we are not cavemen anymore, needing to hoard stuff otherwise we might die.

I love this paragraph: "Holding onto ANYTHING that doesn't have a working role in your home won't allow you to create new space for ANYTHING new to come into your life — things, jobs, people, opportunities, etc. Even as we bring new things in, we need to bring old things out. In this way, we ensure a vital life flow in our lives".

It identifies that there are really 2 problems with decluttering.. how to sort out the clutter and how to detach from it! The comments are good too. This one's a goodie: "The problem isn't "getting rid" of stuff, the problem is "getting stuff". Stop bringing stuff into your home, and you'll stop needing to get rid of stuff. Don't buy cheap, trendy furniture, and clothes, buy quality, classic things that will appreciate rather than depreciate. The focus should be on the "inbox"--what you bring into your home. You can take a 1-week waiting period here too: if you want to buy something, think about it for a week, and go back to get it if you really need it".

It's a great read..... but please come back and tell me how to cook a decent scrambled eggs when you've read it.

PPS. I'm filing everything under 'waffle' these days. That's not a good sign is it? See, Problogger did make me start thinking about things. Gotta sort out my 'categories'. The list goes on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How's This For A Butler's Pantry?

I was visiting a client yesterday and she showed me her new Butler's Pantry. 
Now Kelly Wearstler has officially been everywhere!...even an Aussie Butler's Pantry!
 Isn't it fabulous! 

It's attached to this kitchen. Sigh!

Amazing client.... high powered job, plus studying, plus mother of a 3 year old, plus due to have second baby in 8 weeks, plus full on living in and renovating a super large house  (and doing a spectacular job at it I might add).... all with a big smile on her face. I felt empowered when I left her yesterday!

Look how teeny tiny his is... had to take a photo.

All this talk about my violin the other day made me want to get it out and have a fiddle.

Little one got his out too and played me a song that had something to do with a squirrel running up a tree. His performance didn't go too well according to him and it all ended in tears. That damn G string kept getting in the way of the D string and he thought tears would help. I tried to console but apparently it's just 'so not fair' as I am much better than him. I tried to explain that I had a good forty years on him and that everyone 'gets better when they practice' ...(I have become my mother!)....and he said, "well you said you never practised". Point taken. 

My violin still lives in it's original case. Tragic isn't it. The zip still works. 
It's close to 40 years old. It was sort of a good feral look for the bushband. 
You couldn't have anything too posh.

Well, I am sort of super busy this week. It's amazing what a few days away does to one's inbox. I'm off to the shed this morning as more gorgeous French glass lights arrived yesterday so I'm sending them off. Might don a pair of leggings for the occasion! 

Oh and my lovely chair says hello. I realised it hasn't made an appearance since it survived the January flood, by the skin of it's teeth. It's still trying to get used to the modern wood panelling in my apartment.
That's my messy desk behind it. Sorry I didn't style the chair or take any of the junk off it. I couldn't be bothered getting up from the couch..... just zoomed in. Oh dear, I hope Mr Problogger isn't reading this... this has been a rather lazy post. Well, it is 4.15am and I am leaving at 6.30am this morning for the Tuesday morning 'Guitar Ensemble run'. At least I popped in and said hi and 'respected my readers'.

I'm going to crank up that Nespresso machine right now. I hope it doesn't wake the boys. Yet. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

10 Sort Of Interesting Things About Me

Taken at Problogger to prove to my friends I was wearing a frock. I don't do frocks. 
I'm a leggings girl. But as I have learnt from Katrina and Mutsy, "leggings are not pants".

The lovely TuTu, from TuTu Ames blog passed on a '10 things about me' challenge.

Ok, 10 things....

1.Well, I used to be a bit of a serious nerd. I did a Science degree at Uni, majoring in Biochemistry, then postgrad in Nutrition and Dietetics.

2. I floated around under the guise of a Dietitian for many years... but if I wasn't working in the real technical areas, like 'inborn errors of metabolism' or 'renal' or exciting stuff like that, everything else bored me to death. Sorry to Dietitians reading this. Dietetics has changed significantly since the advent of the computer, I might add. This was back in the late 80's, early 90's, when nothing technical was happening and you had to pay $10 to get the cranky librarian to do a med-line search if you wanted to research anything ....and then you had to physically drive to whatever library a journal article turned up in and then physically search for that journal. Yawn. I think I would enjoy it more these days with the internet and all.

3. I played violin in a bushband for 19 years. We did everything...schools, weddings, pubs, country halls. We played one school bushdance 17 years in a row!!.... I swear the original kids were bringing their kids back. We played a regular gig in an Irish bar in town until the smoke got to me and I killed that gig. I was pregnant with my first boy and I was worried that he was going to be deformed from all the smoke I passively inhaled every Friday and Saturday night.  I once drove 7 hours out west.... to play a gig from the back of a semi trailer out in a paddock..... and then drove straight home.

If I never play 'Knees Up Mother Brown' again... it will be too soon.

4. I'm a pretty tragic cook. Nutrition and Dietetics back in the 80's did not teach you to cook. I manage to keep my boys alive and healthy, with good food... but things are pretty basic in this household. They're none the wiser and think I am a champion.

5. I bungy jumped from a bridge in New Zealand. I didn't scream until it was over... and I was hanging like a limp rag doll at the end of the cord waiting for someone to get me down. The video recording is highly embarassing.

6. My favourite food is sushi. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So could my boys. If I give them a choice between a fast food joint and sushi, sushi wins hands down every time. For this I am very proud. Good mother?

7. I have perfect pitch. Sing me a note and I can tell you what it is. I should have been some sort of professional musician but I was just so damn lazy and didn't practice. I also can't stand solo performing. I'm ok in a band, surrounded by loud instruments but put me on my own and I shake. It's funny though, I could whack out a solo in the band no problems because I knew the other band members were there next to me, not playing, but ready to come in and support me ... but without them... toast.

8. My favourite colour is blue. Threw that in because it's sort of design-ish.

9. My boys are the centre of my world. I love them to death and think seriously about how to be the best Mum I can so that I send them out into the world balanced, independent, confident men, with good self esteems. I also want my future Daughter-In-Laws to seriously like me as I am going to be a helicopter grandma and babysit lots. I could have seriously had more babies.

10. All I really want to do with my life is build houses, one at a time.... just hang out on building sites and supervise the creation of pretty houses. Design, scheme, build, decorate, sell. That's it. That's all I want to do. If I could do that forever, I would die seriously happy.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

10 Things I Learnt About Blogging at The Problogger Conference Yesterday

It's ok to use your your own photos - it really is. It's original content and it shares a little bit about who you really are and helps your readers get to know you.

Can I do this in 10 minutes?...... as I am about to board my plane, to head home to my lads.
Let's give it a go!

1. Be yourself. No really. Don't pretend. Be who you really are. Write like you talk and think... and it will come out in your blog. Your readers want to know you. They really do.

2. Your blog has to have soul. Be passionate. Be excited.

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader".
"No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader".

Hmmm, have had a few tears here.... and surprises. Tick.

3. Tell stories. Stories inspire. Stories drive people to find information. Readers don't always want to be bombarded with information. Inspire, then teach. Inspire, then be useful.

4. Know your dreams.... and dream big.

5. Experiment - test - tweak.

6. Know your readers. Understand your readers. Do not assume your reader is you. Engage your readers. Give something back. Appreciate your readers. Respond to readers (as best you can... I add that as I sat there guilty as hell when all the newbies were rabbiting on about how they respond to every single comment). I'm trying. Post life catastrophes, I will get better at responding to every one of my readers.... somehow!

7. Look at your 'Blog Post Title' or your 'Headline' if your content bombs!
Hmmm, maybe the post title, 'Yesterday', which I use ALL the time..... is just super lazy!

8. Share and share. Create shareable content.....and share. You know... what you give out... comes back to you. Share. Be generous... and enable readers to share your stuff... you know all those social media buttons, stick them around so readers can share your content.

9. Have original content. Don't sort of copy. Be you. Create your own stuff. Use your own photos as much as you can.... yes, me and the 'duck'.... totally vindicated.

10. Give readers a reason to stick around. Give them something now and something for later. Give readers a reason to come back.

11. Clearly define what success looks like to you... in 3-4 years from now... and hold on to that.

Ok, so that's 11.

Final boarding call. Speak tomorrow.
Have a great Saturday!

Duck photos?.... 'original content'!!! 
Crappy iPhone photos are a.ok!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Learning Some Stuff

Well I'm here in glorious Melbourne, all fired up for the Problogger Conference today.

I caught a red eye flight yesterday morning, once my boys were safely tucked up in bed the night before at a dear friend's place. Thank you 'S'. I spent yesterday tending to a few work things and then I had a leisurely coffee with my friend 'K' and her partner. 'K' and I go way back to our single, 'pharmaceutical repping' days (yes, I ditched Dietetics in the early 90's and flogged insulin). 'K' is always good for a real belly laugh so we did lots of that yesterday.... in a little coffee shop in Degraves. I also managed to squeeze in lunch with my legal eagle cousin. We have this little cafe up near the courts that we meet in each time I am down here. We sit and watch the 'wigs' go by. 

So being in the fashion mecca of Australia you'd think I'd make the most of it and go shopping. The only time I had left, I spent sourcing soccer shirts for my lads. Light blue and white this time. Argentina. I am sick of the red Manchester United ones making my white towels pink. Besides I like light blue and white. Hope the boys don't have an issue with team Argentina!

Ok, so Problogger..... I don't think I am going to be sitting doing the laptop, mobile phone full on tweeting everything thing. I'm a bit old fashioned and tend to lean towards pen and paper (I'm from the time when all uni assignments had to be hand written, no personal computers back then) BUT..... if you are interested in all the live goss, there is a hashtag on twitter you can follow at #pbevent. There will be heaps of goss there. There will be lots of other dextrous attendees doing the tweet thing. I think that #pbevent stream will be moving rather fast. I will still have my mobile phone on hand for tweets.... but for important things like..... 'what Treens decided to wear after her fashion deliberations yesterday'... and 'how good the morning tea is'. 

If you want to follow my tweets, you can click on the link to the right of this post that says, 'Twitter'.... or you can find me at:!/TheHouseOfAM

I will provide you with all the useful blogging links, resources and super fabulous stuff I source when I get back. Promise.

So yay, a day of learning. This will be great. Being amongst other bloggers will be a blast too!

I'll chat to you via twitter today.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How It All Panned Out Yesterday

Via dearyouloveme.tumblr

It was my fault. I left the premises. I was lulled into a false sense of security as everything was going swimmingly. An apartment full of busy tradies all seeming to know what they were doing. I had to get some groceries for my boys.... so they had all they needed while staying with friends while I'm away.

I should have known things would go astray when the supervisor assured me that he would not leave the premises, yet he was not there when I returned early from grocery shopping. 

I don't know how long it was sitting there for. I found it at 4pm in the afternoon, after I had picked the boys up from school. That's a 100 year old enjo glove full of bleach, freshly bleached from my cleaning of the shower before they came to trim the shower door so it would fit in the recess and actually close after nine months of it just smashing into the wall. 

And it's lying on my beautiful custom made ottoman. ....rescued from the house sale. A treasure of mine. I am not materialistic but the few things I do have I treasure. They must have taken it off the shower door handle and chucked in on my beautiful linen covered ottoman. That's bleach.

I cried.... and then I let it go.

Off to Melbourne for the 'Problogger' Conference. I'm boarding now.
Have a great day!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Renting Sort Of Really Is The Pits....

Look at that gorgeous Jacaranda tree just outside my place!

... sometimes... well at times. 

Now don't get me wrong..... I'm grateful, grateful, grateful that I have a roof over my head... and such a beautiful view like this (above)... temporarily... until my lease is up. It's the Residential Tenancies Authority's definition of 'Quiet Enjoyment Of The Property' that I am struggling with. 

Our unit was brand new when we moved in, early this year, after the floods. Unbeknownst to us, the unit came with a long list of defects (that the new owner identified after he had taken ownership of it) that needed to be rectified by the developer. These defect repairs have been painstakingly drawn out over the last 9 months..... at the developer's convenience..... and not mine. I get a 24 hrs notice 'Entry Notice' handed to me at least once a week. There's always someone (who doesn't actually live in my unit or pay rent) fixing something in my so-called 'sanctuary from the world'.

Today's entry notice? ... for 'Defects To Be Remedied'... from 9am - 5pm... how's that!!!.... 8 hours access to my home... at their leisure!!! I don't like people being in my home when I am not here... so guess where I'm stuck today.... at their convenience....

.... and to make matters worse, during that time today we also have the routine '3 monthly inspection' by the complex manager (who hates my kids). I suppose he's got to make sure me and my unruly boys haven't trashed the place.... as you do. Ugghh, you know where I'll be ALL day today...stuck at home....listening to hammering, workman chit chat..... while sticking pins in my eyes! 

I still make them coffee you know. Grrr.

End of whinge.
Oh, I was so busy whining that I almost forgot, Dulux has drawn a winner for my 'Dulux Colour Consultant' competition. It's Jodie from 'Life On The River'. Congratulations Jodie! I will make contact with you and pass your details on to Dulux.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When Do You Blog?

Not blogging. Working.

Yesterday, I retweeted a quote on Twitter that said something about not posting a blog post just for the sake of it... post when you've really got something to say.

It made me really think. Do I post every day because you are expecting me to post?... or do I really have something to say? Then it got me thinking... well it all really boils down to why you blog... and how you blog and maybe when you blog?

It's all quite psychologically complex really.

For me?
I blog as soon as I wake up. I wake very early as I crash early at night (not long after my boys). I generally blog about what pops into my head on waking, or anything interesting that happened the day before..... so I've always got something to say... even if it is just categorised under 'waffle'.

The great thing about blogging is that it heightens your senses. I am always 'awake' and aware, living my daily life, interacting with people, noticing interesting things. Anything that stirs an interest?... 'straight to the blog' the next day. For me, blogging has always been a bit of a 'life journaling project' so my posts reflect my life and generally what is relevant on the day.

Child labour.

I look back to why I started blogging... it was to journal my house planning and build back in early 2008, what, almost 4 years ago now. I blogged in the mornings, off the top of head, discussing the house progress and general catastrophes that had occurred the day before. Nothing much has changed! I blog in the mornings, off the top of my head, discussing 'yesterday' generally and possibly the catastrophes that occurred the day before!... oh and occasionally pretty stuff that takes my fancy.

Next door to yesterday's beauty.
Unrenovated perfection.

I often read of bloggers working really hard on the weekends, pre-preparing a whole series of posts for the week. It really is a serious business these days. I must admit every time I come across someone who is well planned and organised in the blog post business, I think oh goodness, now there's a thought, maybe I should do that and be more organised. I mean what if I run out of things to say? Or wake up and have nothing much to say. Na, it's just not me. If I run out of things to say? be it. Those days you'll find me AWOL. They don't happen much but at least you know on those days, I just have nothing much to say! "She didn't post today, she must have woken up 'blank'".

Breakfast meeting.
'Posto', Boundary St, West End. My second home.
Justine makes the best scrambled eggs in the universe, with the best tomato relish on the side.

So for me, my posts really reflect the way I live my life. I'm an early riser so I have a couple of deliciously quiet, perfect hours in the new day in which to share my thoughts through my blog. I have a blogging rhythm that fits comfortably into my life. No pressure. Sustaining. A daily connection with you that flows gently.

Can't you tell I am going to the  'Problogger Conference' in Melbourne at the end of the week?!!! I'm thinking. I know we're all going to have to sit down and think seriously about our bloggys. I am asking myself the questions I know they are going to ask..... and trying to answer them.

When do you blog? Why do you blog? Do you pre plan posts? or are you a total waffler like me?
I'd love to know.

Happy Tuesday!
P.S If anyone from my boy's school is reading this... we are wagging Guitar Ensemble practice this morning. We had a late one last night, making the most of the pupil free day off school. I know bad mother all 'round! Shhhhh!

He's still there.
And says 'hi'.