DIY for the Utterly Useless (how Pinterest is creating havoc in lives)

So it’s been over a year since a blog post!  Do I still have any followers?  Probably not but I’ll write on anyway.

I think it’s time we talked about Pinterest and how it’s destroying lives everywhere.  Well those of us who don’t have a creative bone in our body anyway.  Pinterest sucks us in, it captivates us and makes us think we can do anything.  Can you turn grandma’s old in pieces dresser into a feature piece – of course!  Can you paint a feature wall using craft glue, feathers and washi tape (I still don’t understand what washi tape is, it doesn’t even stick properly!) but yes.  You can do it all – because other people can and will show you how!

I am very aware that I lack the creative/decorative gene but I do know that I am pretty good at following instructions.  I trick people into thinking I can cook/bake because I follow recipes to the letter.  My house I think is quite nice and homey because I pour over magazine until I find things I like and do my best to totally plagiarise and copy it.  But to come up with ideas myself?  I’m not so great.

But the other day I was online trying to find something to decorate my bedroom walls.  They have been bare now for the full 7yrs since we moved in.  I kind of think of my bedroom as a place to sleep and that’s about it but the rest of the house has recently been revamped and I was out of projects so I set the bedroom in my sights.

I found this amazing cactus print on the Urban Outfitters page and fell in love!

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But it was $199 and oh look, doesn’t ship to Australia.  Then I had recollections of our holiday road trip a whole 4mths ago (seems like forever) and driving through allot of desert and cactus and Joshua Trees and started pouring through my photos.  Another thing I suck at is photography, my trick is to take 8,236 photos and you’re bound to get some that are good.  I had ones that were good!  Quite a few which was surprising, maybe my brother in law took them…..  HA  I had some frames that I had bought with an almost expired store credit that had a light wood frame so I wanted a bit of a wish/wash/desert feel to the photos so I applied a readymade filter that required no playing around to my photos (also am hopeless at Photoshop) and went off to my local Officeworks store to print them.  Frames cost $19/each Printing $12 – already well under our $199 – WINNING!

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Loved them, but then came the hanging.   We rent our place and so I am a massive fan of those Command Stick on hooks.  I have had some pictures up for 7yrs now, remove them and there is not a single mark.  So I went to measure up, wanting the two frames to sit over our bed perfectly centred.  Thought it would be a good idea to teach my 9yr old how we apply maths in the home so invited him to help me measure, assess, deduct and work out where the hooks had to go.  10min in and my hooks were crooked, he was kicked out and doors were being slammed… by both of us.  Eventually I got them even but they looked a bit bare, probably not big enough to fill the large wall.  So I hit Pinterest…. What to do, what to do…. BUNTING!  Of course!  I dove into the cupboard and found some silver glitter bunting, because who doesn’t just buy silver glitter bunting on a whim and keep it in the cupboard for the perfect time?  I started putting tiny hooks up, got sick of them being in the wrong spot and ended the job with blue tack.  DIY Tams style.

Stood back to admire my creative genius…..  Decided I’m too old for glitter bunting……  So while I adore my prints and the bunting does fill the wall I think it’s back to Pinterest to see how I can polish this one up – Any ideas?

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Rain Rain Rain but where are the Brolly’s?

I live in the tropics, it can be expected that for about 9mths of the year it rains and then for the other 3mths (May/June/July) we have days where the temps are still around 25c, the air is brisk without that heavy feeling of humidity and the skies are clear and blue and it makes living here through the other 9mths of hell worthwhile.

This year…. it’s running late and us locals are mad. We are sick of the rain (only 4 dry weekends out of the last 16) sick of being wet and sick of carrying our raincoats and umbrellas everywhere.

Or is that just me?

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At least someone is enjoying the rain

Lately since this rain has been dragging out I’ve been paying attention to the locals reaction to the wet stuff and have noticed something really bizarre. Considering how much it rains here there is an incredible lack of rain protection. You rarely see people with raincoats or umbrellas but instead people hike up their skirts and run from car to shelter ending up soaked to the bone. This morning as I walked my son into school with the mega umbrella so HE wouldn’t get wet we passed 90% of kids running through the puddles lumbering bags, lunches and books them and their items all soaked through the downpour. The same can be said at my sons soccer match on the weekend. While I showed up expecting it to be cancelled the fields were full of parents holding their bags over their heads in the showers even though 16mm were forecast for the day?

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‘Why’ is one thing I just can’t work out? It could be because even when it rains it is relatively warm here so people figure they will dry off pretty quickly anyway? Is it because it is the laid back tropics and people are too lazy to cart them around? Or are people up here in permanent holiday mode and don’t care about their blow-dry as much as I care about mine?

Would love to hear your theories.

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Obsessive Buys

Today’s frivolous post is brought to you by shoes………… and my obsessive buys.

I’m not a huge impulse buyer. I have had massive amounts of buyers remorse over the years for expensive impulse buys so I have actually learnt my lesson. Plus with the amount of stores & online shopping these days it really pays to shop around and this is something I do very well. If you talk to my husband though he would probably say otherwise but if he actually knew the amount of online browsing I do before I commit to a purchase – he would realise I don’t buy that much at all. HA

I do however succumb to what I call ‘obsessive buys’. These are things I see online, on TV or in a magazine and seriously cannot stop thinking about them until they are mine. Quite often to teach myself some self control I refuse to give in to my obsession for quite some time, weeks, months, in the case of a certain Longines watch – even years! But ultimately I end up with the purchase.

So here is todays predicament.

On the weekend in a magazine I spied some $200 Ponyhair Camo pumps. Wearing steel cap boots for work Monday to Friday I’m useless on heels, therefore I am a massive fan of pumps, they are a very classy shoe and a spike heel that I can actually walk in. Plus they just do something for my legs that other shoes don’t and even my husband has commented on this. In saying this – I only own one pair (see me justifying already?) so when I saw these on the weekend I fell in love. And haven’t stopped thinking about them.

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But who the hell needs camo shoes? I do wear mostly black so like to add a pop of colour (or camo) here and there but is the real reason I want them to impress my Duck Dynasty loving son? Probably! I am also about to go overseas for 3wks to the USA where shopping is soooo cheap it is a bit silly for me not to save my money for overseas shopping adventures.

But I want them………. But don’t need them so let’s see if I can beat and obsessive buy once and for all!

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Our Camping Adventures

It’s only 3wks into Spring and already the temps are soaring back above 30c, this means we need to hurry up and get in one last camping adventure before it becomes way too hot to imagine sleeping in a tent.

This weekend will be the 5th time I have been camping as an adult. Growing up in a family of 4 kids and with a father who was a Leader at Royal Rangers, we were a camping family. School holidays would come & you could be sure a few of them would include us piling in the car and going anywhere with a creek and having a camping adventure. 4 kids combined with living in the tropics you can also guarantee MOST of them ended with us getting flooded out, attacked by animals, with cuts, bruises and long term psychological damage. (Sorry Dad but it’s true!)

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When my husband and I had just shacked up together and around 10yrs since my last childhood camping trip we were invited on a camping weekend with a group of new friends. We owned nothing, not a tent, not a sleeping bag – nothing. I was an uptight city girl & not overly impressed with where my husband had relocated us. We were new to town & didn’t have any good friends yet so were really keen to have these guys adopt us into their fun loving group. We called on Dad and his camping gear collection, borrowed a trailer load of things and away we went – ready to attempt to fit in with our outdoorsy new friends and prove us city folk could cut it in the country.

We set off to go to Lake Tinaroo for the weekend. A huge lake on the Tablelands about 1.5hr drive from home. We stopped for supplies on the way – and got a flat battery.

2hrs and a visit from RACQ later and we once again on our way. We chugged up the range at around 40klm an hour, our little 4cyl car not coping well with the massive trailer Dad had insisted we take as it had everything we needed. We finally arrived on campsite where everyone had been set up for hours and by now it was dark and pouring wintery cold rain.

Not wanting to put our new friends out we insisted we were fine to put up the tent on our own. We hadn’t put a tent up before & Dad in his wisdom had put in a few extra poles & ropes ‘just in case’.  Confused, this meant it took us around 2hrs in the dark, in the rain, in the car headlights to put up our tent.

Which leaked…. although I doubt anything could have survived that torrential downpour.

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It rained for 3 days and 3 nights which left us not much to do. While we all had individual tents, we did not have a communal sitting area so we could all sit together out of the rain and chat or play cards and it was way too wet to put the ski boat in the water.

I read 2 books, was cold, cranky from lack of sleep and didn’t do much to impress our new friends. On the last day, we packed up our soaked gear and the sky parted, the sun shone and as a last ditch effort to end on a high note we put the boat in the water. The ski rope broke the very first time my husband came out of the water & there was no spare. Time to go home!

I had an inkling our friends (who are somehow still beautiful friends today) thought we were bad luck. This was confirmed by the fact that it took them 10yrs to ask us to go camping with them again. They did finally ask us again last year and we are now up to trip #4 this weekend. These days I am a hell of a lot more easygoing than I was 10yrs ago, also a hell of a lot more organised. I pack with military precision, do my food prep before we go, invest in decent camping gear that provides minimal fuss but know that these weekends are all about kids playing, chatting with friends, putting the paddle board in the water and watching the sun set with a wine in hand.

This weekend we are headed back to Lake Tinaroo – my first time back there since ‘THAT’ trip. While I may never class myself as a ‘camper’, I am really looking forward to my weekend because life is what you make it. No matter what happens I know my weekend will be filled with love, laughter and good times. Hope you all have a good one too.

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Boy Trip vs Girl Trip

My husband is currently on his boys trip across the USA. He knows how crazy jealous I am of this trip and for a technology challenged man he is so far doing an amazing job at keeping us at home updated on his adventures. Every night he has been tracking down the hotels Wifi and sending us a few photos of what they have done for the day.

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The Road Trippin’ Wheels

So a few days in and it is becoming glaringly obvious the differences between men and women when they travel and the memories they make. I recently did a girls trip to Maui and came home and emptied my camera of photos of sunsets, people I met, my friends, amazing landscapes and yes one or two photos of cocktails.

So far from my husband we have seen beers – several different varieties, the biggest adventure gear store he has seen, a hunting shelter I think, plenty of bad food choices and an update on his facial hair growth.

Not really sure what the countryside is like or where the hell they actually are but the gastronomical tour is getting a giggle each night anyway. Thought you might like a giggle too so have posted some pics below:

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Facial Growth – Progressing well

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Drive through daiquiris!

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$1 a can – he’s coming home an alcoholic for sure

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Not really sure what this is but apparently he is trying to work out freight charges to get it home…

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Healthy eating made easy

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Peanut butter and BACON!!?

Wife of the Year!

This morning I put my husband on a plane. For the next 20 days he is on a boys trip to the USA – Fourth of July in New Orleans, baseball in New York, then living on Roadhouse food with the wind in their hair as they spend two weeks driving from NY to Vegas.

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Over the last few weeks, every time I have told anyone about my husbands adventure the response has been disbelief – ‘your letting him do WHAT’ is the favourite catch phrase. Followed by ‘How good a wife are you’

But the reason he is going is not because I am an amazing wife in LETTING him go, (which I find ridiculous in itself, marriage isn’t a cage he needs ‘letting’ out of!!) But he is going because he is an amazing husband and he deserves a chance to do something for himself.

You see I married a selfless man, rare I know – it took me a long time to find him and I’m not giving him up for anything. This mans world revolves around providing for his family, every morning he gets up, makes us breakfast, packs lunches, makes me a travel coffee for my drive to work, takes my son to school and works a day job he likes but doesn’t love because it provides well for his family. On his days off he does washing, mows lawns, hangs out with us and does anything and everything he can to keep us happy and safe.

A couple of times a week he plays basketball, so about 4hrs out of the 168hrs in a week (2.30% of his time) is spent doing something for him. So when this opportunity came up, being the selfless man he is – he said No…. A few months passed and the offer arose again, this time I jumped on it. I practically had the flights booked before he had put in a leave request. I organised his travel insurance, US dollars, connecting flights, cameras, chargers and this morning even checked him into his flight and got him the exit row.

The next few weeks will be nasty, for example – this morning I had to ask my son what he ate for breakfast and needed for lunch. I have no idea! He arrived at school and I arrived at work frazzled but somehow fed and wearing pants – win/win! But we’ll get through it, maybe even gain some independence and hopefully my husband will come home with stories, gifts (big ones), photos and having had the time of his life.

xo

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One of those nights…

The ipod in the car has been broken these last few days so I have been listening to the same CD over and over again. Fortunately the only CD in the car is Tim McGraw – Two Lanes of Freedom and it’s a great album. There are a few songs on this album that are awesome for driving along, singing at the top of your lungs and getting that feel good feeling. One of them is ‘Mexicoma’ – which makes me break out in a grin & wish I was drinking margaritas right from the first chords, the other is ‘One of those Nights’

The chorus to this song is: ‘Someday you’ll be looking back on your life at the memories, this is gonna be one of those nights’

Singing this over and over again this week got me thinking – what memories do I class as ‘One of those nights’?

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First one that came to mind was a late afternoon, last July. We were on a family travel adventure in Tokyo, a city that we love everything about and are lucky enough to have been to a few times now.

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We had spent the day with my Japanese friend Toshie who was playing tour guide – taking us to every single major site & attraction we could possibly fit into her one and only day off work. We had been on busses/boats/trains, eating all sorts of things we couldn’t identify and seen all sorts of amazing things you only get to see with a local guide.

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And we were exhausted….

We were staying in Ueno which is a major suburb in Tokyo with easy access to the Green circle train line, so a busy part of the city. As exhausted as we were, we decided to take a walk through the park next to the train station and try to find the Zoo that we were going to visit later in the week.

Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of this massive, crazy city were gorgeous big trees giving us a cool and calm canopy to de-stress under after the business of the day. We ambled along and came to a halt, infront of us was a small lake with floating ducks, lily pads, flowered banks and……. paddle-boats shaped like Swans!

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We were so excited!! We paid our yen and climbed aboard a pink swan we named Lulu, we furiously paddled around, raced another boat, played a game navigating between some lily pads and finally after the excitement had died down we slowly paddled & gently coasted along, taking in the beauty of the sun setting over the city, the flowers on the banks, the water lapping at the sides and the romance of it all.

We got off that paddle-boat, refreshed, relaxed, content and ready to take on our next adventure. We went back 2 days later and had another go but it just wasn’t the same, sometimes you just can’t recreate magic.

That afternoon will seriously be in my memories as ‘one of those nights’

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Mothers Day Escape

I am a pretty healthy person but recently I was left bedridden & sick for a few weeks by one of our wonderful tropical diseases – Dengue.  Because I am usually pretty healthy it threw me that I couldn’t apply my usual mantra of positive thinking/mind over matter and you’ll be fine that usually see’s me through.  I now need a new mantra for my control freakish ways!

Mothers Day this year came right at the end of my sickness, because I had sparingly few white blood cells I was in quarantine & not allowed near the general public.  So I cancelled Mothers Day with my own poor Mum (will make it up this weekend!) and thought I was doomed to the couch for the day but my boys had other plans and the Mothers Day Road trip came to be!

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The Love Shack

We headed South & stopped at the shack my husband & I first moved into together when we were young and broke, went uphill to the Tablelands and set free a balloon we had picked up at the McDonalds drive through on the way, stopped at a quaint little shop where the boys bought me a fascinator (you never know when a race day may be on the cards!) which they then made me wear for the rest of the drive and we stopped for lunch at a Coffee plantation with terrible service but exceptional views/food.

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Be Free Little Balloon!

The exhilaration of being out of the house for the first time in weeks and having quality time with my boys made it such a wonderful and memorable Mothers Day.  My best Ever!

What did you do to make the day special?

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My Baby

Young & Wild… for 36hrs anyway..

I am a fan of country music – there, I said it. It’s not something I’m ashamed of it’s just that Country Music is really not that big here in Australia. While things have definitely improved over the last few years the CD’s are still a bit hard to find and good artists on tour is almost non existent.ImageEach year CMC (the Australian Country Music Channel) have a 3 day Country Music festival, it is at a beautiful winery in the Hunter Valley – which is a wine region about 2hrs outside of Sydney.

ImageLast year my husband bought me flights to Sydney, tickets to the concert and hooked up my sister to go with me as my birthday present. Best present ever! In fact it was so good my my toe tapping, country loving sister and I ditch the kids with our husbands and head off to the Hunter Valley every year now for 24hrs of dancing, eating and drinking wine in the sun.

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The weekend is great for many reasons, I get to escape my normal life for 36hrs, I get to catch up with my sister and find that the older we get the more alike we are, I get 12hrs in Sydney on the way see my Nonna, Uncle & beautiful nephews, I get to hear my favourite bands and discover some new ones, It’s in a VINEYARD, they have wine, and while thousands of festival goers rough it in the camp grounds my sister and I stay at the prettiest hotel on earth the Peppers Convent which is a short 1klm walk from the music venue. This hotel is GORGEOUS! It’s an old Nuns convent surrounded by vineyards, beautiful rose gardens, has big comfy plush beds and an extra deep tub which is perfect for soaking those aching dancing legs at the end of the day.

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oh and did I mention it was in a Vineyard?

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Happily Married – Travelling alone..

My husband & I have been together for over 10yrs now, after that long you are pretty used to having someone by your side for all the major events in life. He is a shift worker so is not always there every weekend but we do seem to juggle things so he can be around to share the good times.

This year we are charting new territory for going it alone. He has a boys trip, driving across the USA for 17 days booked for July and in a few weeks time I am off to Maui – riding solo for one of my best friends Weddings. My husband, son & I were lucky enough to go to another Hawaiian wedding only 3mths ago so when this wedding had a last minute location change we just couldn’t justify all of us jetting back again so soon. There is no way in hell I would miss this wonderful day for my friend though so despite the fact that I don’t really know anyone other than the Bride, that I have no annual leave so am spending 3 days travelling for 3.5days there and that it is right up there for romantic destinations to visit – I am going on my own.

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And it’s terrifying me…. not the long plane flights with multiple connections, I’m actually ecstatic about doing that without a 6yo in tow! Imagine how many movies I can see and how I don’t have to share my treat bag or take someone to the toilet every hour on the hour. It’s the down time once I’m there that is setting me in a frenzy. This is a 3 day wedding festival, a welcome dinner the first night, a hens day the second followed by the wedding on day 3. There isn’t going to be a whole lot of downtime but there is also only so many hours I can sit by a pool on my own before I go stir crazy. What happens when I can’t sleep? What happens when I have too many cocktails and can’t find my room? What happens when I have to go to breakfast and eat on my own? What happens when I am in the most romantic place on earth at a WEDDING and I need someone to dance with?

Seriously I need to get a grip! I remember when I was this independent, throw your hands up at me girl. My husband often says this is why he was first attracted to me. Where the hell did she go? Does he even still like this version of me? My inner monologue on all the tiny little things that could happen on this trip is doing my head in!

Wish me luck peeps, I’m off to rediscover my love of alone time but tell me – What are some of the things you love about travelling alone?

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