Monday, July 23, 2018
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How Do you React When The Plan Changes?

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How Do you React When The Plan Changes?

I’m a planner at heart. I like to have a good idea of what I’m doing the next day – the next week and the next month. But I can also go with the flow… providing I know those things I’ve planned will get done eventually.

When a spanner gets thrown into the works, I will embrace it and run with it but I may sulk inwardly. I may even need to retreat for a while to deal with my feelings. Life can be a constant spanner in the works can’t it? Some days, you don’t know if you’re Arthur or Martha.

The last three weeks have been a test on my plans. And while the inconveniences were no biggies… there were still feelings of disappointment and impatience to deal with.

The first spanner in the works was this blog. I finally outsourced the backing up of my blog. I organised to pay a designer to do my backups and updates for me each month. Unfortunately, the back end of the website needed a bit of a clean and refresh, which required a new look. It was unexpected, but had to be done and needed to be scheduled around existing workloads.

It’s been over 2 weeks since my last post, and I have been antsy. I like to keep the blog updated with new content and I had to do what I was told to not add any content while the new site was getting developed. It was a nice break and it allowed me to get a ton of writing work done for my clients. BUT, I love writing here and I like to keep this space watered.

Being unable to share posts has been a test of my patience. Bless my designer for being understanding and getting the website up and running sooner than expected. I’m really happy with the new layout. What do you think? More and more people are reading via their phone and iPads these days, so this format makes it friendly for both handheld media and desktop. (my last theme had formatting issues which annoyed me so much!)

So while the blog was getting a makeover, our plans for the school holidays took a bit of an unexpected turn.

The first week of school holidays saw us make the most of our time together by heading to the Planetarium, seeing The Incredibles 2 and a scheduled sleep over at Grandma and Pa’s.

This sleepover meant Jacob and I could have a dinner date out to celebrate my Birthday.

We booked a restaurant overlooking the Storey Bridge, but I unfortunately came down with a bad cold (blocked nose, sore throat, bad cough THE WORKS) and I couldn’t smell or taste a thing! I was frustrated at the timing of being sick and not making the most of a kid-free night. Date nights are rare. It ended up raining so I was kind of glad our plans were cancelled… but still. It was good to have some quiet to recoup from the cold though.

Despite my cold, by the weekend I was feeling better and could finally breathe through my nose. Jacob booked me in for a surprise Day Spa visit which was D I V I N E. A facial and massage was just what I needed. I had some time to myself wandering Indooroopilly Shopping Centre afterwards which was bliss. I may have looked a bit disheveled (does anyone walk out of a day spa looking anything but?!) And then I came home to Esther covered in spots from head to toe. The poor thing had contracted Chicken Pox!

a day spa experience
A selfie BEFORE my day massage and facial

So for the second week of school holidays, we bunkered in at home. I had my Birthday at home, but my mum delivered a tray of bakery goods to get us through. Playdates with friends had to be cancelled and RSVP’s to Birthday parties had to be retracted.

phoebe's birthday

Phoebe’s Birthday was on the Wednesday and I had organised a pampering experience for all three girls. I was able to take the younger two out, but Esther had to miss out. I was gutted for her that she couldn’t enjoy what had been planned, but her Birthday is in a couple of weeks, so we will be able to make up for what was missed.

pampering for Phoebe's birthday

Despite the week being one spent at home, we put the time to good use by baking cupcakes, crafting, making slime, bath bombs and watching movies hired on Apple TV. (Thank goodness for the internet!)

cupcakesAnd now, a week has gone with everyone getting back into their normal routines. School is back. Everyone’s better and life has gone on as usual.

let go of what you can't change

Changed plans can turn out better than we expect. I wouldn’t wish sickness on anyone, but we made the most of the time at home. And it was actually a great week.

Sometimes, you just have to run with what you can’t change and make the most of it.

And then make more plans to catch up on the plans that had to be cancelled or postponed.

(I’m looking at you date night overlooking the Storey Bridge!)

How do you react when the plan changes? How were your school holidays? What do you think about my new blog?

A Visit to the Brisbane Planetarium and Botanic Gardens

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A Visit to the Brisbane Planetarium and Botanic Gardens

Working from home during the school holidays can be tricky and I’ve learned to embrace the chaos and prioritise what work needs to be done. I read somewhere that we are only given 18 summer holidays with our kids and a mum friend pointed out it was actually less than this because when the kids are teens, they tend to want to spend more time with their friends rather than their mum. So every school holiday break is a chance to reconnect with your kids and make some memories.

One of the ironies of living in a capital city is that we rarely visit the main attractions which are literally on our doorstep. So I decided to change that and take my oldest two to the Brisbane Planetarium and Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha for a late morning/early afternoon trip out.

I booked for us to see the Perfect Little Planet Show on Monday. Some of the sessions were booked out during the week. I called the booking office as soon as it opened at 9:30am and was told to come early as they were expecting the Planetarium to be busy due to school holidays. We arrived at 10:30am and the lady was right. There were no car parks! We were able to get one of the remaining car parks across the road. In future, I will always park in this section as it makes getting in and out of the Planetarium and Botanic Gardens easy.

brisbane planetarium

The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is only open on Mondays during school holidays. It opens from 10am and the shows start at 10:30am (bookings are recommended).

Maggie and the astronaut

I booked us in for the 11:30am show. We had an hour to walk around the Planetarium, which is free, but the shows require an entry free.

The Perfect Little Planet show went for 40 minutes and included a night sky tour. We all enjoyed the show and the graphics made you feel like you were moving in space. After the show, the girls were keen to find the stars and planets that were shown to us during the night sky tour.

After our time at the Planetarium, we headed to the Botanic Gardens, which are right next door. Despite it being so close to home, I hadn’t brought the girls here before. They loved exploring the different gardens, making a wish by throwing a coin into the water at the Tropical Display Dome and pointing out which plants we had in our home or garden. We generally wandered wherever the path led us.

mt coot-tha botanic gardens

dome botanic gardens

dome botanic gardens

botanic gardens mt coot-tha

japanese gardens botanic gardens mt coot-tha

Of course, the moment they saw this hill, they wanted to roll down it. At first I said no and then I relented and thought ‘what was the worst thing that could happen? They get grass stains on their clothes?’ It’s the simple pleasures that can make the most memories. And their roll down the hill was memorable as they both rolled in bush turkey poop. Maggie was quite annoyed at having poo on her shirt and said ‘mummy now I know why you didn’t want us to roll down the hill!’

rolling down the hill

We spent around 4 hours exploring the Brisbane Planetarium and Botanic Gardens. We took our own lunch, but ate it in the café after I purchased ice creams and an iced mocha for myself. Next time I will bring a blanket to have a picnic in the gardens.

brisbane botanic gardens

We all had a great time, and the outing gave me at least an hour’s grace to check some emails and upload some work later that afternoon.

If you’re looking for a fun and reasonably priced activity to do with the kids during the school holidays in Brisbane, take them to the Planetarium and Botanic Gardens.

We’re looking forward to going again to see a different show.

Have you visited the Brisbane Planetarium and Botanic Gardens recently?

Why Is Everything Crammed in The Last Week of School Term?

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Why Is Everything Crammed in The Last Week of School Term?

I thought I had last week to get myself sorted for the impending school holidays, which always take me by surprise, despite them being the same time every year.

But last week ended up being a write off of sorts because everything was crammed in the last week of school term. I had tight writing deadlines, followed by school events that I didn’t want to miss, plus my usual work shifts at night.

There was the sports carnival on Tuesday, Excursion on Wednesday, School Disco on Thursday arvo and Friday was Under 8’s Day. It was an exhausting finish to what felt like a long school term.

Bec and Maggie at School Excursion

egg and spoon race

school disco

under eights day

And the irony is the June school holidays are in July this year. It’s the first time (that I can remember) where my Birthday will fall on the school holidays.

You can imagine my delight when I planned to book myself into a day spa for a couple of hours, taking advantage of my child-free Mondays, to realize I would have the girls home with me because of school holidays. Plan B may be a day spa experience at home…

Hindrances aside, I’m glad it’s the holidays. After missing the last lot of school holidays, I’m looking forward to taking the girls to the movies, making some craft, having some coffee dates and playdates with friends who we haven’t seen since… well I can’t actually remember. Maybe on the Christmas school holidays?

coffee dates with Phoebe

Life has been busy as ever. To be honest it has been relentlessly busy. I’m managing my work load as best I can. Last week I got great feedback about my performance with my new job which blew me out of the water. I was shocked by my results – in a good way. I hadn’t expected to hear how well I was doing after sharing how my performance review went in a post a week or so ago. It seems I’m improving in all aspects of the job. My biggest problem though is consistency. I know it’s something I have to keep working on.

I’ve had other good reports too. We received the girls’ report cards (they did well) and I’ve received positive feedback on work I have done that has brought in great results for the companies I do it for.

Last week was also a week where I told myself it would be the last time I’d call a certain company that got me to do work for them back in December last year and hadn’t paid my invoice. I finally had the manager ring me (after leaving a curt message with the receptionist. Yet again.) and I received a partial payment at the end of last week and an apology. I’m hoping the rest of the money will come, without my persistence. It’s so frustrating when invoices go unpaid and I have to chase money. And yet, it seems it’s becoming more prevalent in both the construction and freelance writing industries.

But despite the frustrations, I was able to reflect on the positives in my life. I’ve been intentionally thanking God for all that He done in my life since the beginning of the year. Being grateful can change the outlook of your day when you stop and consider all the things that make our lives full. I got something in the mail last week which reminded me of that fact. But I will share that in another blog post.

So that’s where I’m at at the moment. Are you on school holidays yet? Did your school cram all of the things in the last week of term? What are you going to do these school holidays?

25 Housewarming Gifts People Will Love

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25 Housewarming Gifts People Will Love

A housewarming gift is a lovely way to greet new neighbours or celebrate when a friend moves into a new home. The first home purchase is certainly a reason to celebrate and a housewarming gift is the perfect way to end the moving experience for those involved.

Our school community of mums recently said farewell to a much loved friend who has relocated to the north side of Brisbane. This is what we got her for her new home: a new house plant and a picture frame to place a photo of us from one of our get-togethers. We also headed out to dinner for one last hurrah at our local favourite Vietnamese restaurant.

25 housewarming gift ideas

Whether the move is big or small, a housewarming gift can be a welcome end to the whole packing and moving process which can be exhausting.

If you’re invited to a housewarming party or even a visit to check out the new property, here are some housewarming gift ideas to consider from budget to luxe. They are gifts that will be well appreciated and won’t add to the clutter of items yet to find a place in a new home.

25 housewarming gift ideas people will love

25 Housewarming Gifts People Will LOVE

1. Diffuser and essential oils. My picks would be lemon, lavender and purify.
2. Welcome Mat
3. Pot Plant
4. Hand towel
5. Bath mat
6. Cooking Oils
7. Serving Tray
8. Voucher to Kmart/IKEA for homewares and storage items
9. Scented Candle
10. Tea Towels
11. Hand Wash and Hand Cream
12. Box of tea
13. Photo frame or wall print
14. Door Stop
15. Throw rug
16. Dinner voucher or a homemade dinner
17. Home magazine subscription to their new address
18. Interior decorating book
19. Basket
20. Bathroom Accessories
21. Hamper (with food or home items)
22. Wall Clock
23. Fridge magnets
24. Menu Planner or Shopping List Planner
25. All the takeaway menus in your area, tied with a ribbon. While some might order takeaway online, be a good friend and recommend the best takeaway haunts in your area.

I’ve put together a little collage of items I’ve found online that would make a lovely housewarming gift idea.

housewarming gift ideas

  1. Hello Goodbye Doormat $9.95
  2. Home Republic Jay Pots in Teal $27.99 to $48.99
  3. Nairobi Harvest Basket $89.95
  4. Organic Lemongrass Handwash $29.95
  5. Crosses Tea Towel $7.95 each
  6. Mali Tray $14.95
  7. Home Republic Quick Dry Hand towel $13.99
  8. Omaha Pom Pom Throw in Grey $83.99
  9. Lively Living Aroma Lily Ultrasonic Vaporiser $79.99
  10. Sanctuary Soy Candle $34.95

Have you ever received a housewarming gift? Which of these 25 housewarming gifts would you have liked to have received?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links on this post. Should you choose to purchase an item, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

 

 

Is It Time to Replace Your Nasty Toilet Brush?

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replace nasty toilet brush

One of my pet hates when going into commercial or public toilets is seeing the skanky, brown bristles of the toilet brush that are barely contained in the holder it’s balancing on. The state of many toilet brushes in homes are like an overused toothbrush that has bristles going any which way. There could even be bits in the bristles that no one needs to see.

While it may be a hard-working utensil in your home, it doesn’t have to look well used and past it’s use by date. No one needs to know how well loved your toilet brush is in keeping your toilet clean.  Hide the evidence people.

kmart toilet brush holder
Our main toilet with a Kmart toilet brush and holder.

I’ve owned a few toilet brushes in my time. I’ve purchased an expensive toilet brush from a plumbing supplier to the cheap and modern from Kmart. I tend to go for somewhere in between because I don’t want to constantly replace the toilet brush and it’s better for the environment if you buy right once and clean it regularly.

I’m a fan of the toilet brushes with a high lid. The brush is contained, can be easily cleaned and is easier to place back in the holder, unlike the balancing ones. BUT, the holder can accumulate with water after a clean which can be gross and you do not want this to fester. While you can use bleach to clean and allow both the holder and toilet brush dry after being cleaned, you can also use a few drops of essential oil in water to disinfect. I’d use Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon or even On Guard.  These smell a lot better than bleach too.

Toilet brushes can come in a variety of different styles. There are ones where the brush bristles are black and they sit in an open vessel (would not put these in bleach). It’s up to you what works in with your bathroom décor and what will scrub the toilet bowl best. I find the metal toilet brush holders are the best with kids. If it falls over, it won’t break like the ceramic ones do (and have done for me before). But I do have a ceramic one in my ensuite.

I’ve found some stylish toilet brushes online that will do the job and still look good after scrubbing away.

Stylish Toilet Brushes

Muse Phoenix Toilet Brush in Black $34.95

Black toilet brush

Home Republic River Toilet Brush in Blush $19.99

blush toilet brush holder

Home Republic Urban Toilet Brush in Charcoal $23.99

grey toilet brush

Mercer + Reid Ollie Toilet Brush $23.99


mercer + reid toilet brush

Regent Toilet Brush in Stainless Steel $9.00

regent toilet brush

 

Aspire Retreat Grey Toilet Brush Holder $39.95

aspire retreat toilet brush

Serah Elephant Toilet Brush $99

serah toilet brush

Kmart Scandi Toilet Brush Set $12.00


kmart scandi toilet brush

 

When was the last time you replaced your toilet brush? Do you get repulsed by the state of some toilet brushes in public toilets?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links on this post. Should you choose to purchase an item, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

An Easy Bathroom Update: Changing Tap Buttons

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tap basins header

Our main bathroom is the guest bathroom and I like to keep it as clean as possible for guests. This can be a difficult feat when I have girls that like to squeeze more toothpaste in the basin and on the vanity, than on their toothbrushes. At least toothpaste is fairly easy to scrub off. One thing though, that had been grating me a little in the main bathroom was the discolour of the tap buttons on the bath and basin taps. If there is one thing that can date the taps in your bathroom, it’s the discoloured white tap buttons that differentiate which tap is hot or cold.

old tap buttons on basin

old tap buttons on bath taps

Yesterday I changed the tap buttons and it’s lifted the bath and basin 100%. If you have similar taps to me, you can easily change the tap buttons yourself by purchasing these buttons from your local hardware or bathroom supply retailer.

new tap buttons on basin

new tap buttons on bath

You may need to use a shifter to undo the tap button (turn shifter LEFT when loosening the tap button). When doing this use your other hand to hold the tap handle as the motion of taking off the button can turn the tap on. Especially if the buttons haven’t been taken off – ever.

tap buttons

The tap buttons simply unscrew from the top of the handle and the new ones can be re-screwed in. Easy.

My leftover yellow buttons would normally be upcycled into cufflinks, which I used to do many years ago as part of the blog. I once had Phoenix Tapware email me to make a custom set of cufflinks for their managers using the Phoenix Tapware buttons. Not sure what I will do with these old buttons.

Anyway, I digress, if your buttons are looking a little worse for wear, go and replace them. It’s an easy job you can do, and will make a big difference to your bathroom. Make sure you put the hot button on the left and cold button on the right when facing the taps. I have been to homes where the buttons have been inserted on the wrong tap.

new tap buttons

Before you get new buttons, take the old buttons out first and take them with you when you purchase the news ones to ensure the new ones will fit. There are some buttons that are red and blue and may need the same buttons to be replaced.

It’s the most smallest detail that can make a big impact.

Have you done anything around your house this week that has made a big improvement on the interior of your home? Ever changed the tap buttons on your taps before?

It Worked! Keeping Mice And Rodents Out of My Ducted Air Conditioning Unit Using Essential Oils

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Keep Mice Out of my Air Conditioning Unit

In July last year, I shared what I was trialing to prevent rats or mice getting into my air conditioning unit. They had caused me headaches and expense in the past, which you can read about here. I was on a mission to keep rodents out of my air conditioning unit.

To deter the rodents (and geckos), I used doTERRA’s Purify Oil on wool buds around the unit.

I was meant to get our unit serviced last September, but it went down the priority list due to not knowing when I was going to get paid by the company I had been doing work for.

When I had Fallon Solutions out to fix my washing machine, they told me they could inspect my air conditioner under the Home Protection Plan and I thought SWEET! But I wasn’t able to book the inspection until April the following year (the inspection is done during none-peak times). So I waited till April, and then I got my job and it wasn’t until this week that my air conditioning unit got inspected and serviced (the service is an extra cost, which I was gifted).

saturn air
Saturn Heating & Cooling is part of Fallon Solutions

The great news is there were no signs of geckos, mice or rats in the unit or near the fan. So it seems the essential oil worked. The bad news was, Phoebe had stuck a toy through the grills of the cage and it had missed the fan but was sitting at the bottom of the unit, underneath the fan. GAH!!

fallon solutions servicing air conditioner unit
Nathan from Fallon Solutions

Anyway, after the service, I reapplied the oil to the outside of the unit again and used cotton buds soaked in the oil to be placed underneath the unit.

purify oild to keep rats out of air conditioner unit

Now I can’t be absolutely sure the oil deterred the mice away, but the results from the service are a good indication. I reapplied the oil and I’m crossing my fingers that when my next service rolls around in June 2019, I will get the same report.

fallon services air conditioning service

There are plenty of articles online on the use of Peppermint oil and Purify oil to deter mice and rats. With freezing temperatures this week, now is the ideal time to do what you can to deter these rodents from getting into your home and your air conditioning unit if you have a ducted system.

It’s worked in our house and air conditioning unit. You may like to try it yourself and see if it will work for you?

Do you have problems with rodents getting into your ac unit too? How have you kept rodents out of your home?

My Visit to Fallon Solutions – A One-Stop-Shop For Home Owners Needing a Licensed Tradesperson

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There is a meme that’s doing the rounds on Facebook that says “My mind is like an internet browser. At least 19 tabs are open and 3 of them are frozen. And I have no clue where the music is coming from.” (I cannot find who to credit this meme to. Please let me know so I can credit accordingly)

I can totally relate to this meme, as can most people because life can be hectic and there can be a lot of things going on at once in our lives (and in our heads).

It’s become important for me to streamline so many of the things I do each day to be more efficient and to make life a little easier for myself. One of the ways I’ve done this is by having my eggs in one basket in certain areas of my life. By this, I mean I give my business to companies that will cover all my needs under the one roof.

I do this for insurance and my banking needs. Sometimes I get an extra discount for doing so, but the main reason I do it is so that I only have one number to call if I need to make a change or claim. I don’t have to dig through files to find what is with where. I’ve always done it like this (even before I got my new job), but it’s surprising how many people don’t do this and they have a hard time keeping track of where they go for what. (I can’t count how many times I’ve received calls from people who have no idea where their insurance is!)

I recently had the pleasure of doing a site tour at Fallon Solutions as they are my go-to company for servicing the appliances in my home. After meeting with the marketing manager, Gene, he was able to show me around their office and warehouse at Mansfield and gave me an insight into the culture of the company and their desire to be a one-stop-shop for home owners needing a licensed tradesperson.

managers of Fallon Solutions
Left: Gene Munro, Marketing Manager, Right: Mark Denning, Managing Director and Owner

I had one of the servicemen out to my home last year to fix my washing machine. I was impressed with the turnaround from call to service and I was offered the home protection plan to save 15% off my service call that day. The home protection plan is value for money as it offers not only a discounted rate for call outs during the year of membership, but also a complimentary air conditioning filter clean and condition report (valued at $220), an electrical inspection (valued at $220), plumbing inspection (valued at $220) and camera examination of drains using a CCTV camera (valued at $290). All the inspections are done by licensed trades and can give peace of mind with the main services running through your home.

Fallon Solutions want to be the company a homeowner calls when they need a licensed trade to come to their home. It makes sense to offer this business solution as it means one number to call when the crap hits the fan.

fallon solutions van

The site tour gave me an insight into how a larger trade service company is run. It gave me flashbacks to when dad and I worked together and how we would do our business. Similar procedures are done, but at a more optimal level due to the sheer size of the business.

Fallon Solutions culture

Fallon Solutions realize if they want to give the best service to their customers, they also need to look after their employees. They have a gym and two café areas for employees to make use of during the day. They are committed to offering personal development training to their employees so they feel equipped when out and about talking with customers as they are the frontline of the business.

Fallon Solutions Gym

cafe fallon services
What other workplace has a gym and cafe available to their employees?

My visit was an enjoyable one and confirmed Fallon Solutions are the right company to assist me with the services I’m unable to do myself at home. In fact, I recommend them to friends and family when they need a tradie to fix or service an appliance.

Fallon Solutions trailers

If you live in Brisbane and are looking for a one-stop-shop maintenance service when it comes to electrical, plumbing, air conditioning or servicing your appliances, be sure to give Fallon Solutions a call. I’ve used and paid for their services myself multiple times and have been happy with the service.

Disclosure: I haven’t been paid for this post. But Fallon Solutions have offered to upgrade my complimentary Air Conditioning filter clean and report to a service. They were also keen to see if my experiment to deter rats from my unit has worked. Will let you know if that experiment worked.

What You Need to Know When Buying a Black Kitchen Sink

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What You Need to Know When Buying a Black Kitchen Sink

If you’re a fan of black in the kitchen, but don’t want to have it in cabinetry, why not consider a black kitchen sink? I’ve been seeing a number of white kitchens embracing the black sink, which gives the kitchen a sophisticated look. Stainless steel sinks will always be the most popular choice (there is more variety and it is budget friendly), but a black sink can make a visual impact in the kitchen, unlike it’s stainless steel counter-part. Here are some black kitchen sinks to inspire.

What you need to know before purchasing a black kitchen sink

what you need to know about black kitchen sink

Like anything ‘coloured’ when it comes to taps and fixtures, there can be cheaper alternatives you should be wary of. There are black sinks that are coated stainless steel. This is not what you want for the most hard-working area in your home. Melissa from Reece Plumbing in Mill Park explains quality black sinks are made from granite or quartz composite. “They are durable and scratch resistant, stain resistant, heat resistant, and fade resistant,” speaking specifically of the Franke sink.  The Mill Park showroom has the Franke ‘Fragnite’ sink on display which is 80% quartz sand and 20% acrylic resin.

Of course, compared to stainless steel sinks, they are more pricey – in fact they can be double the price. They are a rare make of sink so you may be limited to size, shape and depth. The sinks are usually rectangular or square, however I was able to find a round bowl sink by Abey if you prefer the circular shape.

black sinks

  1. Abey Schock Euro Round Bowl in Onxy
  2. Franke Impact Granite Reversible Double Bowl Sink
  3. Franke Impact Granite Single Bowl Sink
  4. Oliveri Santori Black Double Bowl Topmount Sink

If you know your suburb is prone to hard water, a black sink may not be the right choice for you. Hard water can leave a white marks on the sink. You can not use harsh chemicals in the sinks either as these can leave marks too. Use a mild detergent when washing up and cleaning.

You can check out more discussion on the pros and cons of black sinks on this forum. There seems to be more pros than cons, with some commenters reusing the original black sink for installation in their new kitchen renovation.

If you are looking to get a black sink installed in your kitchen, ask about its composition.  And consider how it will look in your space. A black sink does look striking against any tapware you choose, so to meet your budget, you could opt for chrome mixer.

What do you think about the black kitchen sink? Would you have it in your kitchen?

 

How to Unblock a Basin Waste

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How to Unblock a Basin Waste

At the beginning of last week, I noticed the water was starting to back up in the basin in my ensuite. I knew the blockage was in my basin waste, as the rest of the fixtures in the house drained normally. Here is what I did to unblock my basin waste:

Call my dad – the retired plumber to help me out. LOL.

I needed our sanisnake tool to unblock the basin waste. I was prepared to buy one myself, when I called dad to see if he still had the one we used when we both worked on the tools.

Dad was able to locate it and came over promptly to help me out.

I could have used my plunger, but experience has proven a sanisnake is the best option as the basin waste can accumulate with hair and soap, and sometimes the force of a plunger won’t necessarily push the blockage through.

blocked up basin waste
The common reason basins block up. Gross, hey?

Unblocking a basin waste with a sanisnake or auger as they are also known, is the best way to unblock a drain. Basin wastes can block up due to an accumulation of hair, toothpaste and whatever else gets rinsed down the basin. It can congeal in the trap or further along the line and cause a blockage. I had wondered if my girls had forced something down our ensuite basin to cause the water to back up.

To unblock a basin waste, the basin trap needs to be undone. Pour the waste water from the trap into the toilet (providing it won’t block up the toilet waste! Usually it won’t as the toilet waste is 100mm in diameter). My trap was full of soapy gunk which I was happy to flush away.

How to Unblock a Basin Waste

We took the floor grate off the floor waste that was directly in front of my basin. I used a torch to look for the end of the sanisnake as it made its way into the floor waste. Usually the end of the sanisnake will push the blockage out into the floor waste or the blockage will wrap itself around the end of the snake when it’s wound back up.

sanisnake unblocking basin waste

A torch is needed to look down the floor waste so you can see that the end of the sanisnake has made its way into the floor waste. Once the basin trap is hooked up, fill the basin with water and it should drain away quickly. You should see water run freely into the floor waste, which shows the waste has been unblocked.

torch down floor waste

We did pour a bit of Mo-Flo down the basin waste and shower waste to give the drains a good clean. My house smelled like a sewer for half the day, but once aired out, the smell does goes away. The last time we gave my shower and basin waste a good clean was 6 years ago.

open floor waste

A sanisnake or auger can be purchased from your local hardware store, but a good quality one can be purchased from your local plumbing supplier. It’s a great tool to have when unblocking kitchen sinks and basin wastes. If the sanisnake doesn’t do the job, it’s time to call a plumber with a jet rodder machine. It could also be a sign there may be a bigger issue (like tree roots) that could be causing the water to drain slowing from your waste pipes.

My basin drains efficiently now. If you have a blocked basin drain, you can try natural remedies, but usually, a tool will be needed to force the blockage out. If you’re not confident in unblocking your basin waste, call your local licensed plumber. It’s a job they can do efficiently for you.

As murphy’s law has it, the basin in the girl’s bathroom has started to slowly back up. Guess what job is on the to-do list this week!

Ever had to unblock a basin waste in your house? How did you unblock it?

A Day of Rest and Thoughts About Negativity

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a day of rest

Whenever I write a personal post, I don’t always know how it will end until I type my thoughts on the page.

I usually end with a point to make or a message to convey.

And generally the lessons are ones I’ve had to think about and apply to my own life. I hope they help you or make you realise you’re normal like me? Or maybe I’m the crazy one, and you’re the normal one? HAHA!

There has been a lot on my mind lately. I’ve challenged myself to think more about my work situation and the priorities I set for myself and our family.

This Sunday we decided to skip church to have a home day. A whole day of rest, with nowhere to be.

As our children grow and we take on more work (or responsibilities) because the baby and toddler years are behind us, I have learned the importance of rest. A day of rest is crucial to get through another week. If a day of rest was important on God’s weekly agenda, it certainly is more so for us.

We headed to church on Friday night instead. While church can be an effort to attend to on a Sunday morning, I need a weekly message of inspiration to get through each week. Attending church is one of the ways I set my mindset up for another busy week.

Today will be spent pottering around the home, reading, and tidying up. We may also attack some menial tasks that will benefit our peace of mind.

The past few weeks have gone quickly. Just when we groan that our weekend has ended it’s not long before another new weekend is on our doorstep. The irony is I enjoy most days of the week, but the weekends are generally more relaxed.

My weeks are full doing my part time job and writing work. The irony of starting my new job is my writing work load has also increased. Requests and projects from brands I dreamed of working with back when I started the blog have been in contact in the last month. I’ve said yes to most of them with excitement and then apprehension, hoping the work I deliver will be the quality they require. (I will share some of these with you at a later date when I’m allowed to do so)

I’ve settled well into my new job and had my probation review a few weeks ago. It all went ok. At the heart of what I do, I enjoy helping people.

I enjoy listening and talking to customers. I get a lot of fulfilment in helping people and doing it in an instantaneous and practical way. No shift is ever the same and I’m reminded of the extremes we can live in. One person may be having a great day, while another may be having one of the worst days of their life. We may think all is well in our world and then an accident happens and suddenly, everything isn’t right. It’s a grim reminder to enjoy each and every day we’re given. There are no guarantees of tomorrow.

I had been thinking I was doing pretty good with my new job, getting the hang of the systems and then I received my call score during my probationary review and my score was a fail. Despite being told my call manner ‘epitomised the heart of the business’, and customers asked for my name so they could speak to me again – I hadn’t met the mark in other areas and hence, I was penalized for it. Another reminder that sometimes when I feel I’m doing well, I could be better.

I think the first half of 2018 has taught me to not let the negatives get to me. I could very well wallow in my score and dwell only on the negative, but it takes an intentional mindset to take it on the chin, remember the positives and do better next time.

It’s so easy to only remember the negatives. And while negative feedback can be beneficial, it can also be detrimental to a mindset that has never learned to scrutinise it for what it is.

scrutinise negativity

And so, on the eve of another week, I have a week of shifts to get through, words to type, mouths to feed, clothes to wash, a house to clean and a husband and children to love.

I do what I do so I can enjoy time and experiences with my family. If I ever find myself wallowing in the negative, I just have to remind myself of whom I have and who I do this for. The positives certainly outweigh the negatives.

How has your week been? When was the last time you took a day of rest?

The Bathware Excellence Awards Needs Your Vote

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The Bathware Excellence Awards Needs Your Vote

Choosing the taps and fixtures for your bathroom renovation can be a matter of personal choice and budget.

Preferences to different designs, materials and colours come down to the individual and I’ve learned what is someone’s cup of tea may be a nightmare for others to use. Personal tastes play a big part in the taps and fixtures we choose for the spaces we use every day.

One way to narrow list of brands to consider for your bathroom reno is through the recommendations of others. And the best way to do this is through awards and voting forums. Awards that allow renovators to voice who their preferred brands of taps and fixtures are can help others become more aware of brands they may never have considered previously.

House of Home announced the launch of their Inaugural Bathware Products Awards last week, and I was excited to see brands I’ve shared about or worked with, being shortlisted in their relevant category.

house of home bathware excellence awards

The House of Home Bathware Excellence Awards celebrates product design and innovation. The judging panel is made of leading Australian bathware retailers who created a shortlist of the best products on offer in the tapware, shower, vanity and bathtub categories.

vanity by ADP bathware excellence awards
Vanity by ADP

If you are a renovator or interior design lover, you can have a say on which products should win in each category. By voting for your favourite design and/or brand, you go into the draw to win a $200 Gift Voucher for use at House of Home. This would be awesome for those who need taps or fixtures for their current renovation.

tap mixer by Astra Walker
Mixer by Astra Walker

To vote in the awards, simply head to House of Home and make your vote count in each category.

Please note that you may submit only one vote per category. Duplicate entries will not be counted. Voting closes 21st June 2018.

If you vote in each category, you give yourself a bigger chance to win a voucher. Here are the brands that are available in each category:

Tapware

house of home tapware 2018

  1. Astra Walker
  2. Brodware
  3. Faucet Strommen
  4. Ikon
  5. Jamie J
  6. Methven
  7. Millenium
  8. Phoenix

Vanities

vanities house of home

  1. Architectural Designer Products
  2. BelBagno
  3. Fienza
  4. Inda
  5. Ingrain
  6. Ledin
  7. Rifco
  8. Timberline

Bathtubs

house of home bathtubs

  1. Vizzini
  2. Dado
  3. BelBagno
  4. Decina
  5. Forme
  6. Studio Bagno
  7. Kaskade
  8. Castano

Showers

house of home showers category

  1. Brodware
  2. Con-Serv
  3. Gro Agencies
  4. Hansgrohe
  5. Meir
  6. Methven
  7. Nero
  8. Phoenix

So tell me, which brand gets your vote in the Bathware Excellence Awards? Have you had personal experience with any of these brands?

Before and After Reveal of a Small Bathroom Renovation

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Before and After Reveal of a Small Bathroom Renovation

One of the challenges of renovating a small bathroom is designing a layout that won’t feel cramped. This small bathroom renovation I’m sharing with you today may be a tiny space, but you wouldn’t know it due to the clever choice of fixtures and materials that have made this bathroom feel bigger than it actually is.

The before photos show how this bathroom was in desperate need of a transformation.

old small bathroom before
Before

 

old small bathroom

 

before small bathroom renovation

The tricky part to this particular bathroom renovation was working with the existing concrete walls.

Previously, the water services were exposed outside the shower. Dad and I installed this to the shower when I was still doing my apprenticeship. The water combo had started leaking in the concrete walls and the only way to fix the combo was to expose it.

exposed chrome shower in small bathroom renovation

But the time had come for the bathroom to get a major renovation.

The owner advised it was tricky renovating a small bathroom, but choosing a quality builder and making specific choices with her taps and fixtures enabled the successful execution of what now is an on-trend, bathroom space.

Here are the pics during demolition and before the bathroom was fitted off.

bathroom demolition

 

bathroom demolition before


bathroom demo

 

waterproofing bathroom

And here are the after pictures.

small bathroom renovation after

My favourite standout in this bathroom is the floor tile. The black and white hexagonal floor tiles are from Beaumont Tiles and they are the main feature in this bathroom. Extending the white wall tiles to the ceiling makes the bathroom look spacious. The removal of the bath and shower combo to a shower only with clear screens has opened the space, making it brighter and less boxed in.

small bathroom renovation

The owner read my blogpost about black tapware and ensured her black mixers were electroplated to get maximum wear.

matte black shower and tap

One of the downfalls of having a small bathroom is the compromise on storage space. But this bathroom has plenty with the corner shelf next to the toilet, the vanity cupboard and storage behind the mirror. There are also enough towel rails to make drying towels a breeze.


corner shelf in small bathroom

the vanity in a small bathroom renovation
mirror storage in small bathroom


bathroom after

The bathroom renovation came to approximately $19,000 including the hire of the portaloo (because the only toilet was in this bathroom), fixtures, materials and labour.

before and after small bathroom renovation

Here is a list of suppliers

Tiles – Beaumont Tiles

Fittings and Toilet – Highgrove Bathrooms

Shower head – BDW

Cabinetry – IKEA

Builder – ALPS Constructions (You can check out one of their black and white kitchen renovations here)

Thank you Suzette for letting me share your bathroom renovation. It looks fabulous!

before and after small bathroom renovation

What do you think of this small bathroom renovation? Has it given you inspiration for your next reno?

If you are after more inspiration check out these posts on

Matte Black Tapware

Black and White Patterned Floor Tiles in Bathrooms

Point Pod Offers a Seamless Power Solution in Your Kitchen Bench Top

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Point Pod Offers a Seamless Power Solution in Your Kitchen Bench Top

If there is one thing that many kitchen designs get wrong, it would be not allowing enough power points for appliances at the island bench. Often it’s a frustration that isn’t recognised until the kitchen has been installed.

When designing a kitchen, there can be so many things to consider. There’s the layout, design, colours, materials, lights, appliances, plumbing, electrical points, flooring and the list can go on. But once the layout has been planned, it’s necessary to consider where to have water and electrical points in your kitchen.

Everyone knows the bench is the workhorse for a kitchen, so a lack of power points can make a practical space impractical, because all appliances need power.

We live in a world where multiple power points are necessary to charge iPhones and tablets, to power diffusers or ensure appliances work on any bench space that is available. We want the functionality of using a Mixmaster while the Slow Cooker is on for dinner. Imagine not being able to use these appliances on the island bench at the same time due to a lack of power points. It’s a design flaw that can be avoided.

Over the years, there have been pop up products that have offered homeowners the ability to have more power outlets at their bench. But the designs of these products can disrupt the aesthetic of the kitchen bench.

Enter Point Pod, a fully-integrated power socket system that seamlessly blends into your bench top.

Point Pod in kitchen bench

What makes Point Pod different to other products similar on the market is it integrates the benchtop into the top of the unit. The Point Pod is mounted underneath the stone (or whatever bench material you have) to create a flush, seamless finish.

point pod in stone bench

The unit is able to be retrofitted to an existing island bench that has power at the bench. For stone benches, it is recommended a stonemason installs it as cutting the 100mm hole through the stone is extremely important to get right.

The Point Pod can be customized on request if there is a need for more USB ports than electrical points and vice versa.

point pod on the plumbette

point pod electrical points

When I asked about maintenance, there is none required. Point Pod also has a 2 year Australian Warranty.

point pod

It has been product tested over 15000+ cycles to ensure it lasts as long as your kitchen. It’s easy to install (takes approx. 1.5 hours for a retrofit) and has been designed to be easily swapped out for different models so you’re not stuck with the same model.

point pod at melbourne

There is also a safety design feature where if the Point Pod meets resistance on the bench, it will go back up.

If you are looking at getting your kitchen renovated or need more power to your exiting island bench, check out Point Pod. It’s a power solution that won’t compromise on the design aesthetic of your kitchen.

Point Pod will be available from early August. If you’re interested in having this product in your kitchen, contact Cam directly for any enquiries.

What do you think of the look of the Point Pod? Do you have enough power points in your kitchen? Ever wish you had more power at your island bench?

Life is as Extraordinary as You Make it

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Life is as Extraordinary as You Make it

If there is one thing I have re-learned since the start of the year, it would be life is as extraordinary as you make it.

Such a simple truth and statement to make, but one I struggle with because when I’m set in routines day in and day out, life can feel quite ordinary. It’s only when I make time to stop and list all the things I’m grateful for that I can see how extraordinary my life is. I don’t do it often enough because my responsibilities pick me up like a bullet train and I am prone to becoming familiar with the daily grind.

The past 5 months have flown for me and it doesn’t feel like June, although the weather tells me otherwise.

The first half of the year saw me be honest about work related things that were no longer working for me – or more I was fed up with bad business practice. I needed something to help me sail in less choppier seas, without letting go of certain dreams I’m eager to see come to a reality.

With a good dose of common sense and a resignation that change was in order, I chased the change.

The change I’ve embarked on in the last few months has been good. Still challenging and tiring, but it will bring the desired results to our lives for the better.

It’s been an incredible couple of months where I’ve realised I can handle change better than I thought. I’m positioned in a place where I can help people and I see the value of the work I do. I am also learning something new every day. But with the highs and lows of change comes the exhaustion.

I have never been so tired. (And I no longer have a baby waking me in the middle of the night!)

I thought my body would have adapted to my new changes, but it’s still taking time and I’m trying to get better at resting when I can, instead of squeezing in something else from my to do list.

Of course, when I’m exhausted, I don’t have the energy to do anything extraordinary. Or fun. I’ve preferred to stay at home. There is always something to do around the house.

It takes energy to get out of the house and have fun. I know it’s always worth the effort, but I always have resistance before embarking on the said activity.
The last few weeks I’ve said yes to things I’d normally say no to.

It’s been a recalibration on my part to say yes to experiences that will benefit our family life for the better. They haven’t been earth shattering WOW experiences. But for my girls, they’ve meant something to them. And their excitement rubs off on me and I’m reminded a local trip out of the ordinary can be exciting.

Last Friday, I picked the girls up from school and had a McDonald’s picnic lunch at the local lake. The girls loved it (despite Maggie crying because her chicken nugget hurt her wobbly tooth). Esther even said, ‘mum, this feels like we’re on holidays.’

fun at the park
Maggie definitely had fun, although there were tears as she has a wobbly tooth and the chicken nugget hurt her tooth. 🙁

We then walked around the lake and played on every playground on the route. For a couple of hours we enjoyed the outdoors and it was a lot of fun.

playtime

On Saturday, I had a one-on-one day with Esther where we went shopping and had sushi train for lunch. The desire to spend time with my children has never been stronger. They’ve grown from babies to children quite quickly and I do not want my everyday responsibilities to stop me from enjoying them.

chocolate with esther

trying on Gorman
Me, trying on Gorman dresses. Esther told me which ones she liked and which ones she didn’t. The reaction to this one was ‘meh’. HAHA.

An extraordinary life is not hard to attain. It’s stewarding the gifts you have in your home. Your partner, your children, your family and your friends. It’s saying yes to new things, but also doing the same old in a different way. It’s not what you see on Instagram stories. It’s a life you create without the camera on.

weeds as flowers
Even weeds look life flowers to kids. We can learn so much from how they see the ordinary as extraordinary.

Life can be as extraordinary as you make it. But sometimes it needs a recalibration on our part to make it so.

life can be extraordinary

What makes your life extraordinary? Can you believe it’s June? How has the first half of the year been for you? What have you said yes to recently that has made your life all the more better?

This Is How You Applied for a Plumbing Apprenticeship in the 1970’s

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This Is How You Applied for a Plumbing Apprenticeship in the 1970’s

Can you remember how you applied for your first job? Or how you were able to source your apprenticeship if you work in a trade? Today, I’m sharing how my dad got his plumbing apprenticeship 40 years ago, with pictures of his letters of acceptance and the plumbing by-laws he used when he went to college.

These days, people secure jobs by searching online and then applying through the relevant contact channels. Gone are the days where jobs were applied by cold calling a company and sending them a letter. Cold calling can still work in your favour, but most companies will have a recruitment agency or a human resources team that conduct job offerings and interviews. Email is the preferred contact for job applications when they’re available, and if you’re well known enough, you may be headhunted on Linked In.

But back in the 1970’s it was different. Very different.

My dad was going through his filing system and found his letter of offer for an apprenticeship from Henry Neylan Pty Ltd. He shared it with me and I wanted to share this history with you.

This Is How You Applied for a Plumbing Apprenticeship in the 1970’s

Back in the 70’s, letters were typed on typewriters and sent via post when applying for a job. Could you imagine the patience needed to wait for the snail mail to let you know if you had indeed been accepted for an interview or whether you had gotten the job? Maybe Australia Post was more reliable back in those days. Probably less people back then to deliver to as well.

My dad was 15 when he applied for his apprenticeship. He was able to secure a position at Henry Neylan Pty Ltd via my great grandpa Pop’s assistance. Pop was the deacon at the City Tabernacle Baptist Church (Wickham Terrace in Brisbane City) and right next door was the Henry Neylan Plumbing office on Upper Edward Street. Pop asked one of the plumbers on site for a business card. This business card was then given to my dad so he could send a letter and his character references for a plumbing apprenticeship.

letter for plumbing apprenticeship

Dad kept all the correspondence from 1975, even his letter of appointment, where dad would start his plumbing apprenticeship on Monday 26th January 1976 at 8am sharp. Another letter was sent back asking if it were to be Tuesday 27th January 1976, as Monday 26th was the Australia Day Public Holiday. These simple letters reminded me of how email has made contacting each other so much easier and quicker.

plumbing apprenticeship letter

When I asked dad why he chose plumbing, he told me he was given good guidance by his parents and those offering apprenticeships back in the day.

My grandpa took my dad to an open night at Yeronga TAFE, where dad could find out what apprenticeships were available. After discussing options with those at the open night, dad was advised a plumbing or electrical apprenticeship was the way to go because of a few reasons:

1. It was a licensed trade. People can’t DIY a licensed trade.

2. There would be limited overheads to start out if you decided to have a business. You wouldn’t need to purchase a warehouse or large machinery to start out. A ute and your tools were all that would be needed.

After the TAFE event, Grandpa told my dad plumbing sounded like the best option for a trade apprenticeship.

Before dad found out if he got a plumbing apprenticeship with Henry Neylan, he was offered a sheet metal working apprenticeship with J Wiley and Co, but the manager asked my dad a crucial question which allowed my dad to make a clear decision on which apprenticeship to take.

The J Wiley & Co manager told my dad that sheet metal workers would be in a shed everyday for the rest of their life doing sheet metal work. But plumbing would allow him to be on a new site everyday and he would get to be out and about. Dad had to be committed to working inside if he were to take on the sheet metal joinery apprenticeship.

It was this question that made dad contact Henry Neylan to find out whether his application for a plumbing apprenticeship had been accepted.

It had and his offer of a position was to be mailed to him. And the rest is history.

letter offering plumbing apprenticeship

Dad also kept his Plumbing Standards “The Sewerage, Water Supply, and Gasfitting Acts, 1949 to 1967”. In the book are notes from when dad went to TAFE. When the by-laws changed, he taped in the overriding laws in the book.

plumbing standards 2018

When I did my apprenticeship and would use sticky notes to help me reference the by-laws so I could find them quickly, dad said he would do the same when he was at TAFE. I didn’t think they had post-it notes back then, but when I got his standards book, there were notes just as he told me.

plumbing by-laws 1949

Of course, the by-laws are no longer a 214 page book, but now come in multiple sections in a 4 ring binding folder. My sticky notes are still in each of the pages from my apprenticeship days, which I completed more than 10 years ago. Gosh how the time flies!

Dad also kept his log book and he used this to work out how long it would take to complete a job. These notes would enable him to estimate in the future and know how to price a job accurately. My log book was significantly bigger –an A4 size and had multiple sections that needed to be completed before I could get my license.

plumbing log books

While there are a lot of things that have changed in the last 50 or so years with plumbing, one standard has always remained the same – the necessity for a tradesperson with a plumbing license to conduct any type of plumbing work. It’s governed more strictly these days with fines and severe consequences to insurance if work has not been done by the relevant licensed trade.

only a licensed plumber to do plumbing work

Now, in 2018, it can be difficult to secure a plumbing apprenticeship, but over the coming weeks, I will be updating my posts on who to contact for an apprenticeship. A plumbing apprenticeship is a great career choice – no matter your gender. There are amazing men and women who have started a plumbing trade and have gone on to do incredible things within the industry. You just never know where a plumbing apprenticeship will take you.

I hope you enjoyed this post down memory lane. I’m glad Dad kept these historical documents so I could share them with you. These documents make up part of my story too, which makes them even more special to keep.

Have you kept old letters or books from the past? Do you enjoy history? Got any stories of how previous generations were able to get their first job or plumbing apprenticeship?

The Stylish Bathroom Accessories That Removed The Eye Sore Mess From My Shower Floor – Plus a FUSION-LOC Giveaway

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Stylish Bathroom Accessories That Removed The Eye Sore Mess From My Shower Floor

There have been a few things that have annoyed me in our ensuite bathroom since we’ve lived here for nearly ten years.

The first is not having enough towel rails to hang up more than one towel. There was also never an allowance for a hand towel holder either.

The second was having no soap holders. We did have soap holders when we first moved into our house. But they were originally installed in a way where the chrome part of the holder just balanced on the two screws that were installed to secure the holder to our shower wall. I rarely use soap, but the one occasion I did put a bar in, the whole holder fell at my feet, smashing the glass dish and chipping a tile in the shower. The screws were so rusted from the way it was installed, the heads came off leaving half the screw embedded in the shower. It has been an eyesore ever since. When the same thing happened to my husband’s side of the shower I knew we had to get new soap holders.

The third was not having a niche or any sort of accessories to hold the bottles of shampoo and shower gel off the floor.

These annoyances were ones I could live with. But it wasn’t until I was contacted by FUSION-LOC and had a look at their stylish bathroom accessories, that I knew I’d found the answer to remove the eye sore mess from my shower floor.

FUSION-LOC are easy to install accessories that work as their name suggests – using vacuum fusion to lock the accessories in place on the wall. They work perfectly on glass, sealed tiles, vinyls and laminates. The design is patented to FUSION-LOC, so it’s a unique installation anyone can do. No tools or drilling are required. The vacuum-fusion pump does the work for you.

fusion-loc pack

fusion-loc matte black stylish bathroom accessories

fusion-loc matte black stylish bathroom accessories

The range is stylish and comes in chrome and matte black. The matte black is GORGEOUS. For our ensuite, I’ve used a mix of both to show you what it looks like. Jacob has kept the matte black for his side of the shower. I do have chrome to remove the black should we decide to make the accessories uniform.

I was sent a range of products to install in my bathroom and I put them to the test.

stylish bathroom accessories fusion-loc

fusion-loc accessories

Initially, the soap holders would not seal to our tiles. The reason for this is because they are porous. It’s a very rare issue to have porous tiles. The way to get around that was to install adhesive discs (which can be purchased separately) and then install the FUSION-LOC accessories to the discs.

fusion-loc discs

fusion-loc bathroom accessories

I was dubious about whether they would hold, but after a month’s worth of showers, our accessories are still in place, and they hold a few kgs of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel products. We rarely use soap, but I’m happy to have the soap holders installed for display purposes.

fusion-loc matte black stylish bathroom accessories

Here is a video of how I installed the soap holder. It takes less than 30 seconds. For me, it took 34 seconds because I was having multi-tasking issues.

I was sent some Fusion-loc products to test in our bathroom, which are available from @bunnings. They make a range of suction holders that can be used pretty much anywhere in the house – but mainly the bathroom. They are so easy to install, I even did it in a dress 😉😂. The shower has been used to test the strength as there is no drilling with these products. I also had to use an adhesive disc as my tiles are porous and Fusion-loc won’t work on porous materials but they do supply adhesive discs for those installations. Here’s a quick video of me putting on the soap holder in just over 30 secs. Will have a review soon on the blog and a giveaway. The matte black accessories are pretty 👌🏼but chrome is the way to go in our bathroom to match the chrome tapware. #gifted #blogpostcomingsoon #fusionloc #fusion-loc #bunnings #bathroomaccessories #interiors #bathroom #soapholder #homedecor #showeraccessories #plumber

A post shared by Rebecca Senyard (@theplumbette) on

The FUSION-LOC range also includes a towel rail, suction towel ring holder, toilet roll holder and hooks.

We installed a suction hook as another place to hang a towel. We will look at getting an additional towel rail to add to our main bathroom in the future as the towel doesn’t dry in winter when hung like this.

stylish bathroom accessories

Overall, I’ve been really happy with the FUSION-LOC bathroom accessories. If you’re looking for a way to style up the bathroom, then adding these accessories is certainly the easiest and best way to go about it.

fusion-loc matte black stylish bathroom accessories

Best of all, the accessories can be removed and installed in a different position if needed. All you need to do is remove the cap and use your finger nail to release the vacuum in the centre valve and then remove from the wall. If you use an adhesive plate though, this will damage your plasterboard wall as it is a strong adhesive. You will need to replace these if they are to be removed.

FUSION-LOC Matte black hook

When I head into our shower, it feels like new. It’s a delight to head into the shower and not have to bend to reach bottles of shampoo and conditioner. It’s also been nice not to have towels draped over the shower door.

The FUSION-LOC range is available exclusively through Bunnings. But if you want to get your hands on some for free, the FUSION-LOC team have offered to do a giveaway in your choice of colour accessories.

FUSION-LOC STYLISH BATHROOM ACCESSORIES GIVEAWAY

There will be two prize packs. Each pack will include :

1 x Large Shower Caddy
1 X Soap holder
1 x Bathroom hook
1 X hand towel or face washer holder
2 x adhesive discs

Chrome RRP $107.80
Black RRP $103.80

The winners can choose Chrome or Black for their prize.

All you need to do to enter the giveaway is:

Like FUSION-LOC on Facebook

Like The Plumbette on Facebook

Answer this question in 25 words or less:

Why do you need FUSION-LOC accessories in your bathroom? You can comment here on the blog, on Facebook under the post, OR via my contact form.

Winners will be chosen on their answer.

Terms and Conditions

This is a game of skill. Each valid entry to be judged on creativity and originality, not by chance.
There are two prizes of FUSION-LOC accessories as detailed above. The winner has a choice of black (RRP$103.80) or chrome (RRP$107.80)
Entries open from 5am Brisbane time Saturday 26th May to Friday 15th June 2018 5pm Brisbane Time.
Prizes are not transferable or changeable.
Prize sent out by third parties will not be replaced in the event they are stolen, lost or damaged in transit or virtually.
Entry is leaving an answer to the question on the post or Facebook and visiting and liking Facebook pages.
A valid email address must be included in your entry.
Entry into any giveaway or competition is deemed acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
This Giveaway abides by my Privacy Policy.
Entrants must be Australian residents and aged 18 or over.
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to reply and claim the prize. The winner may be announced on Facebook. This giveaway is not endorsed or affiliated with Facebook.

Disclosure: I was gifted FUSION-LOC accessories for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own. This post has been written in accordance with my Disclosure Policy

Little Changes That Can Update Your Living Room And Make a World of Difference

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Little Changes That Can Update Your Living Room And Make a World of Difference

Winter is always a great time to make some little changes to update your living room to make it feel warmer and to reflect the change in seasons.

In the past, I used to enjoy changing things around in my home to make it look different. Maybe because I was always home with my babies, a change of scenery in the house made me feel less blah. As they say a change is as good as a holiday, and when you have babies at home and all you can see is mess, a styled zone can make a world of difference to your head space.

I have found, once I have nailed a key area in our home, I leave it as it is. I haven’t made too many changes in our house for a while because I’ve had other things to potter around with (kids and work) and I like how things are at the moment. However, there has been one area of our house that has been in need for an update, and they have been the cushions in our living room.

But didn’t I just recently buy cushions for our bed?! Yes, yes we did. You can read about those updates here.

Recently, Jacob said he was getting a bit over our cushions in the living room. I looked at the state of our cushions and had to agree. My DIY project from a few years ago didn’t look so awesome anymore. The pom pom detailing had started to fray and pull off from the cushion. One cushion zip would no longer do up and my favourite round bohemian cushion had started to fade and look a little worse for wear. We didn’t need a complete overhaul of our cushions, but we did need some additions to uplift the space.

I headed to my favourite interiors store, Pillow Talk, and bought some cushions on sale to update our living room. Phoebe was helpful in telling me which ones she liked and which ones she ‘ated’. The things they come out with when they’re three!

I also bought a new insert for one of our big European cushions. The insert in one had started to disintegrate.

I added a faux fur cushion and another round cushion which I’ve had my eye on for a while. I also changed our throw to one I’ve had in the cupboard that would go with all the colours in our living room.

update our living room with pillow talk
From Left to Right: Round Cushion – no link online, but I was tossing up between this one, Willow Square Cushion in Spruce $24.95 (on sale), European cushion our own, bought from a Gold Coast Interiors Store

I tend to like an eclectic mix of cushions and try and match with similar colours or patterns – or both. It somehow all works together.

update cushions in our living room

No way are my photos or my living room show room worthy – let’s face it, I do have kids. But it’s welcoming enough to show you what I’ve done.

update your living room 2018

I’m not sure how the faux fur cushion is going to go with our kids. But so far it is the favourite one to be petted when we’re in the living room.

living room update with maggie

If you’re wanting to change the look of your Living Room, here are some tweaks that can cost very little money and can make a world of difference to the interior of your home. Many of these you may already know. But this list is a good start if you are not sure what to do or what to change.

little changes that can update the interior of your home

1. Move the furniture. Changing the layout is one of the easiest ways to change your living room space.

2. Add plants. Use baskets or fabric planter bags to hide the plant pots. Always read whether a plant can tolerate shade. If you’re not sure on what plants work best inside, you can check out this post.

3. Display books on coffee tables or on TV cabinets.

4. Change the cushions.

5. Add a new inserts to existing cushions to give them more shape.

6. Clean the windows to let the sunlight in.

7. Change the throw – rather than buy new, look at what you already own – even Turkish towels can make a great throw.

8. Change the rug on the floor.

9. Use baskets for storage (we use ours to hold our blankets).

10. Dust everywhere.

11. Give your couches a good clean.

12. Add some plantation shutters or blinds.

13. Add an occasional chair.

14. Create a gallery wall.

15. Change the artwork on the walls.

16. Add a new floor lamp.

17. Paint the walls.

18. Add a feature wall.

19. Update your coffee table.

20. Add an ottoman.

It depends on the size of your space and your budget on how you make the changes in your living room. Our living room is an open space, so any changes affect the main interior of our home.

It’s always a good sign when Jacob notices a change and likes it. We can tend to have different tastes in interiors.

For him, our new cushions were what we needed to uplift our living room. And it only cost less than $90.

Right now, many stores are having sales (is it me or is there a sale on EVERY week of late?!), so it can be a good time to refresh what you have.

I’ve become more conscious on what I spend my money on when it comes to home interiors. If you have pieces you no longer use, sell them on Facebook Marketplace or donate them so others can enjoy them.

Also, don’t forget to check out your local op shop for pieces that might be suitable. It’s amazing how many people offload their cushions to goodwill and you can score a bargain for under $10.

Have you made any changes to update your living room lately?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links on this post. Should you choose to purchase an item, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Australian Made Tapware Brands You Need to Know

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Most tapware within Australia is generally manufactured and imported from overseas. Like many Australian made products, tapware that is made on our shores, can often cost more to manufacture due to overhead costs. However, the product can be of a superior quality and finish to many of the imported brands we know and love.

Any tapware that is sold within Australia needs to abide by strict watermarking and WELS standards. If the tapware can’t meet these, they should not be sold or installed.

After incorrectly sharing the place of manufacture for my new Mizu Soothe Mixer, I did a bit of research to find tapware companies that not only design their tapware in Australia, but manufacture it here as well. There aren’t many companies that manufacture their taps in Australia, but I thought I’d share the few with you that I found that did.

Can I admit, I’m not always the best at choosing Australian made products – not just with tapware, but in daily life as well. After the uproar about the $1 milk war and what it was doing to our farmers (and rightly it should be in the media), I swapped to purchasing Paul’s and Norco milk. I think education is key when it comes to choosing Australian made products, and sharing the impact our purchase can have on a family business and on our economy.

And yet, I also have a budget too. So I understand the fight of wanting to support Australian made, and having to choose a product within your price range.
I won’t judge anyone on what brand they choose to purchase. The tapware from the following brands may not be what you’re looking for in your space and that is totally ok.

If you are looking for something bespoke or tailor made to your bathroom or kitchen, then these brands will be able to assist you as they can manufacture it for you. Just contact them directly.

However, if you aren’t limited by budget, are open to design (and colours!) and you are passionate about supporting Australian made, here are the tapware brands you need to know.

Disclosure: These brands state their tapware is designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia. To purchase, check the stockists of each brand. Most can be purchased through Reece or Tradelink. Some may only be ordered through specialist bathroom supply stores.

australian made tapware brands

Australian Made Tapware Brands

Faucet Strommen

Faucent Strommen manufactures a range of contemporary tapware out of Kerang in Victoria’s Murray Valley. They are proud of their products and are always looking ahead in design with their tapware. Their Pegassi range of tapware has a high 6 star Wels rating. They offer a personalised approach with their warranty on their products.

 

Sussex Taps

Sussex Taps are manufactured out of Melbourne and they offer superior quality and finish with their tapware. You can check out how they manufacture their tapware here. But what makes this company unique is that the business has been passed down through family generations. If you need something bespoke created, the team at Sussex Taps can bring your design to reality.

Inspiration | MSFW 2017

 

Ram Taps

Ram Taps  have been manufacturing tapware for over 70 years and are one of the largest tapware and waste outlet manufacturers in Australia.  They specialise in the design and manufacture of bathroom fittings that meet strict Australian Standards. They currently export their tapware overseas to Fiji, Vanuatu, Noumea, & New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, & Dubai.

 

Brodware

Brodware were established in Australia in 1964. Their tapware is backed by a 20 year warranty (check the conditions when purchasing though.) All Brodware tapware is designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia, so you can be assured for a quality product.

 

Astra Walker

Astra Walker is an independent family-owned manufacturer and all their tapware and bathroom accessories are engineered in Australia. Astra Walker is the brand to purchase your block-coloured tapware from. They offer a range of contemporary and classic tapware styles and have a 15 year warranty on their products (check conditions when purchasing though.)

 

Consolidated Brass Tapware

Consolidated Brass Tapware is a family owned Australian company that manufactures their tapware in South Australia. Their tapware exceeds Australian standards and they can also customize a tapware design to suit your space. Their tapware range is perfect for Federation, Heritage and Victorian style homes.

consolidated brass tapware australian made

Have you heard or had any of these Australian Made Tapware brands installed in your property?

 

What We Learned After Walking Past a Dead Possum

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What We Learned After Walking Past a Dead Possum

With the gorgeous autumn days and winter on our doorstep, I’ve made an effort to walk the girls to and from school. It’s a lovely stroll to school… providing we’re not late. I enjoy the walk and even though the girls sometimes complain, I know they enjoy it too. The odd eye spy game certainly quietens the protests of walking to school.

Last Monday, we had the unfortunate experience of seeing a dead possum on the road. It didn’t look dead from the way it was lying on the road. Even Maggie, ever the optimistic, said it looked like it was sleeping.

dead possum lessons
Not the dead possum we saw. But this is similar to what it looked like.

Unfortunately, the possum was not sleeping and was certainly dead. During the week it had been moved from the road next to the footpath where we would walk.

As we had left late a few of the mornings during the week, we had taken the shorter route to walk to school, which meant we didn’t walk past the dead possum.

It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon, I pushed Phoebe in the pram to pick up the girls from school, and our noses twitched to an awful smell which was the dead possum. It had been picked at by the local wildlife for food. Phoebe was quite audible with her description of the smell. It left such an impression on her, as soon as we got to school to pick Esther and Maggie up, Phoebe described the smell to her older sisters.

Maggie asked if we could walk past the dead possum so she could smell it too.

I told her no, it was gross and why on earth would she want to smell a dead possum?

“Muuum, please! I will hold my nose as we walk past!”

“What’s the point of holding your nose if you want to smell the dead possum?” I exclaimed.

To avoid tears of disappointment, we walked past the dead possum. I held my nose. The girls tiptoed past to get the full smelly experience.

“Oh gross, that is disgusting. I never want to smell that AGAIN!” exclaimed Maggie.

I laughed and couldn’t wait to tell Jacob about the FOMO (fear of missing out) of smelling a dead possum.

It gave me the opportunity to explain to the girls that when I say something is not good and we shouldn’t do this or that, I’m not doing it to be a mean mum, I’m simply doing it to protect them.

After we passed the dead possum, and made our way home, it dawned on me how often we can be just like Maggie. We won’t take someone’s word for what they’ve seen or experienced. We have to experience it ourselves before we make up our own mind.

The experiences could be anything from going on a holiday, starting a blog, becoming a plumber, choosing to start a family or simply having faith in God. All these things will potentially enrich your life in various ways. (They will also test you and make you stronger in various ways!)

But then there are the temptations in life where we know they won’t lead to good… but we just have to try it to see. We think, what happened to that person won’t happen to me. The problem with this thinking is when we ignore the wisdom from others who have been there and have just survived to tell their tale, we immediately regret when we’ve given into that same temptation.

Listening and acting on the wisdom from others is wisdom in itself.

wisdom from others

It seems there is much to learn from our experience after smelling a dead possum.

I’m not sure whether the girls fully understood my explanation about wanting to protect them from something nasty. But I also didn’t want to crush their curiosity either. I knew smelling and looking at the dead possum wasn’t going to give them nightmares. It would allow them to understand a little more about the cycle of life.

I know one thing is for sure for us – we won’t be curious to know what a dead animal smells like.

Been there, done that, and thankfully lived to tell the tale.

Do you need to try things before you believe? Ever done something you wish you had listened to the wisdom of others before you embarked on the said experience? Ever smelled a dead possum?

 

A Back To Wall Freestanding Bath Is A Great Option When Bathroom Space Is Limited

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A Back To Wall Freestanding Bath Is A Great Option When Bathroom Space Is Limited

If you’re looking to install a free standing bath in your bathroom and are limited for space around the bath, a back to wall freestanding bath may be better suited for your bathroom.

On my recent post for Houzz, I shared three of the common trends that anyone who is looking to build or renovate should carefully consider. One of the points I made was the necessity of having enough room around a freestanding bath for cleaning.

Everyone wants to have a freestanding bath in their bathroom, but they may not necessarily have the space to install one.

What many renovators do is find the smallest freestanding bath they can fit in their designated space to get their desired look… forgetting how practical it will be to clean around the said bath after it has been installed with only a small gap around the bath.

Soapy water left on tiles promotes mould and will go a lovey shade of green if it isn’t cleaned. How do I know this? Because my daughters constantly splash about in the bath and even though my bath has been fitted in, the water makes its way under my floating vanity. If I don’t clean it, the water accumulates dust and will go a shade of green within a few days.

This is a really important consideration if you are looking to install a freestanding bath in your bathroom. Too many of these baths are installed with a small gap around the edge of the bath. Ideally, you want a minimum of 500mm space around the freestanding bath for access. If this can’t be achieved, then a back to wall freestanding bath may be your better option. The head and foot of the bath are the only sides you need to consider for an accessible gap.

Here are some ways back to wall freestanding baths have been installed.

argent Australia back to wall free standing bath
Freestanding Back to Wall Bath by Argent Australia 

 

back to wall freestanding bath
River Back To Wall Bath by Waterbaths UK

 

Urbane Back to Wall Freestanding Bath by Caroma

 

There are a number of options for this style of bath in your bathroom. Your local plumbing showroom may be able to show other products available. I took this picture of a back to wall bath installed at the Reece Coopers Plains Showroom.

 

reece back to wall freestanding bath

 

Here are some back to wall baths I have found online that are available to purchase.

 

back to wall free standing baths the plumbette

  1. Caroma Urbane Back To Wall Freestanding Bath
  2. Caroma Luna Back To Wall Freestanding Bath 1400
  3. Raymor Aruba Back To Wall Freestanding Bath
  4. Fontaine Industries Harper Back To Wall Bath 1700
  5. Mizu Soothe Back To Wall Freestanding Bath 1500
  6. Caroma Aura Back To Wall Freestanding Bath 1600
  7. Fienza Sentor Back To Wall Freestanding Bath 1500
  8. Highgrove Bathrooms Eden Back To Wall Freestanding Bath 1500

Before purchasing any of these baths, look at the specifications which will show the measurements of each bath. Add 100mm to the length from the top tip of the bath, not the bottom of the bath as this is often tapered in.

Also, when choosing the tapware, in the wall mixers are a good option.

Do you have a freestanding bath in your bathroom? Do you find it hard to clean around the bath? What do you think about the back to wall freestanding bath option?

Modern Day Proverbs 31 Woman

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Modern Day Proverbs 31 Woman

On my desk, I have Proverbs 31: 10-31 framed on my desk. It was a handout given a few years ago at church for Mother’s Day that I took home and got framed.

modern day proverbs 31 woman

The Proverbs 31 woman is certainly the type of woman I challenge myself to be, although in this day and age, the circumstances can look a little different.

modern day proverbs 31 woman

I thought I’d play with the words of the verses which so many women take encouragement and inspiration from. I decided to give it a modern re-do. Maybe you might resonate with the Modern Day Proverbs 31 Woman? All scenarios are based on stereotypical circumstances. Some are exaggerations, and others are situations I’ve had happen in my own life, at one time or another.

Disclaimer: Not all related to me. But most. 

Disclaimer 2: This is meant to be tongue-in-cheek! 

Modern Day Proverbs 31 Woman

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds… or a spare carpark spot when attempting to shop at Christmas.

Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it… especially when she organises his mum’s Mother’s Day gift  and Birthday gifts two weeks in advance. 

Never spiteful, she treats him generously cooking him dinner, washing his clothes, cleaning the house and organsing the children all her life long so his work life is never interrupted.

She shops for the best linen from Kmart because families are expensive, ya know. She has no idea how to knit or sew, but thank goodness for YouTube, which she uses if she needs to re-sew a button on the kids’ uniforms.

Her mind is often like a trading ship that sails to faraway places – she sometimes imagines she is on a cruise ship sailing to faraway places, with a cocktail in hand, and kids booked in the kidsclub. She brings back exotic surprises homewares to adorn her home.

She’s up before dawn, because the baby wakes at 3am. And then the toddler. And then the whole household is awake before dawn (where’s the coffee?!). If the kids sleep in till 5:30am, it’s considered a sleep in.

She rushes like a banshee to feed the kids breakfast, change the nappies, pack lunchboxes and school bags for the day. She organises her day the night before because mornings are a nightmare and she is never on time.

She looks over a block of land and imagines building a new home. One that has not been destroyed by kids. She considers signing up for House Rules, so her home can be transformed. Reason to sign up – hoarders have set up residence in her home. No matter if she helped create them…

She plants a garden… sorry she puts a million plants around her house but has no idea how to plant or tend to a garden. She honestly has no time for such frivolities. She crosses her fingers the indoor plants won’t die. She makes a mental note to buy plastic plants from Kmart, if when they do.

First thing in the morning she dresses in active wear to look like she’s on her way to the gym. After dropping the kids to school, she dresses normally for the day. She rolls her sleeves because that is her gym workout for the day.

She senses the worth of her work, and is counting down the hours till her kids go to bed.

She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, with the help from “Home Decorating Mums” and the “Kmart Mums Australia” Facebook Groups.

She’s quick to assist anyone in need – she says yes to the P & C at school, yes to tuckshop duty, yes to women’s ministry at church and yes to sports club secretary for her kids sporting events. Yes, yes, YES to assist all in need…

She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows. (She lives in Brisbane where it NEVER snows).

She buys her own clothing online (she’d be permanently nude if she tried to make it). And dresses in colourful designs like white t-shirts with vegemite finger prints and black t-shirts with milky chuck-ups. Sometimes she wears the trifecta of a number three, created by the baby, of course.

Her husband is greatly respected, when he deliberates with his work colleagues. If he doesn’t come home as soon as he finishes work for the day – he’s dead. 

She declutters her wardrobe and sells her pre-baby clothes (the ones she hoped to fit back into one day) on eBay.

She is clothed in stretchy jeans and oversized shirts.

She laughs and has no fear of the future… because she has daughters and they look after their parents when they’re old (or so I’ve been told)

When she speaks, she always has something worthwhile to say like ‘Go brush your teeth!’ or ‘Why aren’t your shoes on?’ or ‘For crying out loud, stop fighting.’ There may be other words uttered, not meant for little ears, but are worthwhile to her sanity.

She keeps an eye on everyone in her family. Heaven forbid the children play on their own while she sits to take a break and scrolls Insta stories on her phone.

Her children respect and bless her and her husband joins in with words of praise:

“This dinner is amazing. But maybe try different ingredients in the future.”

“Gosh, you look tired. Can we help clean up the kitchen?” 

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades, as this mum knows. There are more wrinkles, stretch marks and thigh dimples. And less patience, hair and boobs because their beauty were sucked out by her offspring.

This woman is a woman to be admired and praised.

She survives each day on prayer and coffee.

Give her everything she deserves! A sleep in, a pay rise, a cleaner and a chef.

Festoon her life with praises – giftcards, more coffee and breakfast in bed.

Oh, Modern Day Proverbs 31 Woman, you do deserve a raise!

modern day proverbs 31 woman

What do you think? Like my take on the Modern Day Proverbs 31 Woman?

However you celebrate today, may it be a day of love. Love shared with loved ones, and good memories of mums that are no longer with us but played a big part in our upbringing.

For the correct version of Proverbs 31, check out the NIV version or The Message. 😉