Friday, November 16, 2018
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A Lesson About Jumping to The Wrong Conclusions

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A Lesson About Jumping to The Wrong Conclusions

Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment that brought relief to the question of ‘what if?’ in my mind.

Around a month ago, I decided to get a health check with blood tests to see if I was lacking in anything because I had been so tired. I had a feeling I was going to be told yet again that I had to change my lifestyle, but wanted to get things checked anyway to be sure.

The blood results came back and my white blood cell count was just over what it should have been.

I immediately thought the worst, although my doctor reassured me the reading could have been because I was fighting a virus. Esther and Maggie had had the chicken pox consecutively the previous month, so who knows whether my body was fighting that or something else. To be safe, I got another blood test, but was asked to wait a few weeks.

When I hear anything to do with white blood cells it’s not hard to think the worst. I jump to the wrong conclusions. I asked my doctor if I could get another ultrasound on my breasts despite being given the all clear two years ago.

jumping to the wrong conclusions

I wanted to be sure everything was checked. What if things had developed in the last two years? Maybe that was the reason for the higher than usual white blood cell count?

I had the ultrasound last week and a lot of time was spent taking images of my right breast. This concerned me and I had to settle my mind.

Thankfully, my appointment yesterday confirmed everything was ok. My white blood cell count had gone down (so I obviously was fighting a virus!) and the nodules in my right breast were the same size as last time.

When I got into the car, I rang Jacob, relieved about the results, but I also chided myself for jumping to the wrong conclusions.

The mind can run away with itself with ‘what ifs?’ can’t it? It’s a battle to control the mind at times. It can go off on a tangent and create scenarios that will possibly never be. I know it’s important to trust God through whatever circumstance we come face to face with. Clearly it’s a lesson I’m still learning.

Jumping to the wrong conclusions didn’t help me. It was unnecessary to worry until I had all the facts. And nothing could have been done until the test results came in. Why do I worry about things I don’t have control over?!

The same can be said when we judge others and jump to the wrong conclusion about their behavior. There is often a reason or another story that we don’t see. Whenever I’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion with someone and I’ve talked to them about it, usually I’ve been the one in the wrong and I’ve had to apologise. Sometimes what we see is not a true picture of what is really going on. And this verse in The Message explains just that.

don't jump to the wrong conclusion

Wherever you find yourself this week, take a lesson from my experience and don’t jump to the wrong conclusions until you have all the facts. And if anything is bothering you health wise, get it checked out before your mind starts telling you morbid things that are incorrect.

Always live with hope and the belief that every day is going to be a good day (a reminder for me too!). Expect the best outcomes in all situations.

Do you jump to the wrong conclusions? How do you calm your mind when you get unexpected news?

All-In-One Filtered Sink Mixer Taps – What You Need to Know

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all in one filtered sink mixer tap header

All in one filtered sink mixer taps are becoming a more sought after tap as it reduces the need for two taps at the sink.

Known as a 3 way filtered tap or filtered sink mixer, there aren’t a lot of tap manufacturers that offer this style of tap. There is a limited choice for design and colour, with most options offering chrome.

 

The all in one filtered sink mixer has three water inlets – hot, cold and filtered water. They combine filtered water and unfiltered water in the one mixer. The mixers will have dual chambers on the inside so there is no cross contamination between the tap water and filtered water.

I was recently asked by a friend who wanted to have this style of mixer installed, if I knew of any other tap finishes. I had never heard of the mixer she wanted to have installed, but I have included it as part of this post because it does have watermark approval and offers a stainless look if chrome is not your preferred finish.

These mixers are a great option to reduce multiple holes through the benchtop or sink mount, and are ideal for one sink applications.

I haven’t personally installed this type of tap because it’s fairly new in design and many opt to have a filtered water solution through their fridge. I personally have the old Zip Hydrotap option which has worked fine for me. I don’t mind having two taps at the sink.

When purchasing an all in one filtered mixer tap, check what connections are included. Usually the water filters will be an additional cost.

If you are looking for some all in one filtered mixers, Melissa from Mill Park Reece has suggested Phoenix Tapware for quality. Here is a list of the all in one filtered mixers to consider:

Phoenix Vivid Filtered Sink Mixer

all in one filtered sink mixer tap

 

Phoenix Pristine 2 in 1 Filtered Sink Mixer

All-In-One Filtered Sink Mixer Taps

 

Oliveri Essentials Round Gooseneck 3 Way Mixer

All-In-One Filtered Sink Mixer Taps

 

Oliveri Essentials Square Gooseneck 3 Way Mixer

All-In-One Filtered Sink Mixer Taps

 

K-5A Modern Gooseneck Stainless Steel 3 Way Mixer

All-In-One Filtered Sink Mixer Taps

 

Puretec Tripla BL2 TAP ONLY 3 Way Kitchen Sink Mixer Filter Matt Black

All-In-One Filtered Sink Mixer Taps

If you’re after an all in one boiling, chill water mixer, Zip is the way to go, although they are a big investment. Zip offer a range of finishes with their taps and you have the added benefit of never having to boil a kettle to make yourself a cuppa.

If budget is an issue, an all in one filtered sink mixer tap will be the most cost effective solution. Always buy from a reputable plumbing company so that filters and spare parts can be sought if needed. A licensed plumber should install your mixer. Most of the mixers have a 6 year plus warranty and this can be voided if a plumber isn’t used to install the tap.

Have you got an all in one filtered sink mixer tap? Or do you prefer having two taps at the kitchen sink?

Empowering Women to Use Power Tools: What Have You Been Told You Can’t Do?

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Empowering Women to Use Power Tools: What Have You Been Told You Can't Do?

Blogging events are very few and far between these days. And the events I do get invited to, I have to decline simply because of work and family commitments.

But one event that I had been waiting to arrive in Brisbane was the Kids Business Bloggers Brunch.

I’ve been invited to these events in Sydney and Melbourne, but wouldn’t attend due to kids and the cost of getting there. When it finally arrived in Brisbane, and I saw the key speaker would be Kerryn Carter from Tool School (also brand ambassador for Ryobi), I RSVP’d before I organised someone to look after Phoebe!

Kerryn Carter
Kerryn Carter from Tool School and Ryobi Ambassador – This was the cubby house the bloggers helped build to donate to a single mum through Share The Dignity

You can read an overview of the event on this post I wrote for Be a Fun Mum. But I wanted to talk about tools. Specifically women getting on the tools and having a crack at making something, because this was a theme that was tackled head on at the event.

There has been an underlying message in our society that tools are ‘men’s toys’. Whether it’s through advertising, old ideals, social norms and having the trade industry generally dominated by men, women aren’t being taught basic skills on how to use power tools. The reality is, it’s sometimes seen as unusual to see a woman on the tools. While the wheels are slowly turning with more and more women embracing a trade, we still have a long way to go before women are accepted as equal on the construction site. Praise be for the companies and sites that do embrace women.

Anyway, I digress. I know there are women (you may be one of them) who have been curious about…

How to use a power drill?

What’s the correct way to sand?

bec sanding

How do I turn a lawn mower on and mow a lawn?

How do I change a battery to my battery powered drill?

What drill bit will suit this or that job?

How can I patch a hole in the wall?

How do I paint a wall?

There are many women who have had an underlying desire to renovate.

To build furniture from scratch.

To upcycle an old piece of furniture and give it new life!

All these desires require skills and a bit of know-how using tools.

I was lucky to learn a lot of these skills through my trade. But gosh, when I started I was so scared when I held a battery drill. I may have even creamed my jeans the first time I used a hammer drill. But over time, that anxiety lessened as I became familiar with using the tools.

The thing is, curiosity is often quenched with fear of what if I stuff this up? and what if I’m not doing it right?

Being curious is a good thing when it comes to using tools. It’s something we should investigate further. But often women are deterred directly or indirectly that they can’t do certain things, and using tools is one of them. I noticed the hesitations from some of my blogging friends when it came to signing up for the Ryobi workshop (I’ve experienced the same myself!), where we could make a cheese board.

ryobi workshop
Ryobi Workshop with a view of Brisbane City in the background at Victoria Park
ryobi tools
Tools ready to go
ryobi workshop
Me and Bronwyn from Four to Adore at the Ryobi workshop

Ryobi are passionate about getting women on the tools. And I love that women like Kerryn Carter have made it their calling to teach kids and women how to use tools to change the status quo. TAFE can be quite daunting to learn new tool skills – especially when you’re the only female in the workshop. A teacher with no bias, but a passion to teach people what they need to know, is important when it comes to teaching tool skills.

The Plumbette and tool school
Bec with Kerryn Carter from Tool School

Heading to the Kids Business Bloggers Brunch awakened a confidence in me after making the cheese board. Clicking the batteries into place for each of the Ryobi tools felt good. I knew what I was doing. And that confidence was only acquired after being taught how to use the tools before, and repeating the skills over and over again in my trade.

The Plumbette Subtle Mummy
Zoe from The Subtle Mummy is a Fine Arts Teacher and has taught woodworking/tool skills to students

Whatever your curiosity, I encourage you to discover ways to develop it. Whether it’s getting someone to show you how to use a power drill or booking yourself into a class to do woodwork. YouTube can show you various tutorials on how to use tools, but sometimes having someone show you in person is better. There are various ‘shed’s’ that have been developed as local initiatives to get men and women using tools. Do a Google search to see what is available in your area.

If you are looking to do a workshop, here are some that I know:

Two Sheds Workshop

Woodwork for Women

Tool School

TradeUP Australia 

Bunnings

SALT – these workshops travel to schools, offering girls a chance to use tools.

If you know someone who can teach you how to use a certain tool, ask them. And then tackle your project and give it a go.

ryobi cheese board
With my finished cheese board

There is nothing more fulfilling than producing something you’ve created yourself.

diy cheeseboard
My cheese board put to great use

What have you been told you can’t do? What tools would you love to know how to use? What project have you outsourced because you lacked the confidence to try it yourself?

Property Styling on a Budget: Which Rooms Should be Home Staged by a Stylist?

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Property Styling on a Budget

This post has been written in collaboration with Grace & Co Property Styling

If you’re planning to sell your property, you will no doubt be looking for ways to make your home stand out from the rest in your suburb. The responsibility of ensuring your property appeals to a potential buyer relies on how you style the property. To ensure your house looks amazing for the listing photos and open home inspections, property styling will be a fundamental step. Homes that undergo property styling will spend less time on the market and reap higher offers, compared to homes that are simply presented ‘as is’.

What is property styling?

Property styling, also known as home staging, is simply entrusting a stylist (who has interior design qualifications) to come into your home to furnish and finish it so there is less of you and more of what a buyer will want. Property Styling will ensure your house looks amazing by carefully curating the interior to make a lasting impression on the potential buyer. The property stylist will restyle your home, to prompt an emotional response from a buyer as soon as they walk through the door.

before property styling
before
after property styling
After

Property styling is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. A homeowner can stage their home themselves but often they are governed by what they like. Property stylists have an eye for detail and they know how to present a room that will appeal to a broader range of viewers. Of course, this expertise will come at a cost and not everyone can afford a property stylist, so how you can you get your property styled on a budget? Here are some tips from Melanie Grace, owner of Grace and Co Property Styling, on which rooms you can DIY and which rooms you should leave in the hands of a stylist.

Property styling on a budget: Who should do what?

A property stylist can completely overhaul your home and in doing so can help you get a better sales price by up to 12.5%.

If you have limited funds, but still want your home to by styled, a partial style can be done by a property stylist. This is a great option if you are still living in your home and have existing furniture that can be worked into the interior.

The property stylist will do a consultation on the rooms that need to be styled or receive some attention. They will make a note of the existing furniture and décor that can be used and then hire other pieces to style the gaps.

You, as the seller, will need to do the prep work which will include

• Cleaning carpets/floors
• Patching holes in walls/ceiling
• Painting walls and ceiling
• Dusting and cleaning window furnishings
• Ensuring lights work and replace bulbs where needed
• Cleaning windows

The three main rooms to get property styled

For a partial property styling package, the three main rooms that should be handled by a stylist is the lounge, dining and master bedroom.

before a lounge room gets property styling
Before
after lounge property styling
After

These rooms are where a potential buyer will imagine themselves living and relaxing in. It’s these rooms that need to evoke an emotional response from the buyer, and a property stylist knows how to style these rooms to do just that.

dining before
Before
dining after
After

Rooms the homeowner can style

The bathroom, kitchen, laundry and powder rooms are rooms that don’t necessarily require a property stylist. A lot of the work can be done by the homeowner in these rooms as they don’t require furniture.

The most important job in these rooms is to ensure they are clean. Here is a list that can be applied to all the wet rooms in your home:

• Clear clutter off benches. A bowl of fruit or a Thermomix are fine to leave on the bench in the kitchen as they can add colour and character
• Clean and/or paint cabinet doors
• Remove magnets and notices off the fridge
• Clean windows
• Replace silicone in areas where it’s gone mouldy or has discoloured
• Clean grout
• Clean splashbacks

The bathroom, kitchen and laundry should look clutter-free. Don’t over-style them.

Rose petals in the bathtub will not evoke an emotional response from someone walking through your home. Instead, add a scented candle, a plant, vase of flowers and fluffy towels. Create a vignette, which is a cluster of décor pieces that add interest to the space.

 

Property styling is a successful method in getting more eyes on your home which can lead to more walk throughs and potentially, a higher offer. It’s a valuable step in the home selling process.

It is possible to get your property styled on a limited budget. A consultation with a property stylist can give you the information you need to get your home looking its best. Your property stylist can also give you a list of areas to refine that you may not have previously considered.

If you are looking for an experienced property stylist contact Grace and Co Property Styling. The photos speak for themselves on the transformation they can make to your property.

This post has been written in accordance with my disclosure policy

Have you ever considered using a property stylist to style your home for sale?

The Best Websites To Peruse For Renovation Inspiration

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renovation inspiration

When you purchase a house in need of renovating, it can be hard to decipher what you like and if it will suit your property. Renovation inspiration can come in many forms from perusing interior magazines, to walking through display homes to my most favourite and preferred way – scanning online websites and bookmarking ideas I love.

There are a variety of places online that I go to to get renovation inspiration for an article pitch or a post I want covered on the blog. I had a question last week about my recommendations on the best websites to go for renovation inspiration. Pinterest wasn’t cutting it, and to be honest, Pinterest doesn’t cut it for me most weeks either. Here are my recommendations to assist you as you compile your ideas for your renovation.

best websites for renovation inspiration

Houzz

Houzz is my FAVOURITE resource for home renovation inspiration, and not just because I write there. I was researching images from this online site long before I wrote articles.

houzz renovation inspiration

There are a few reasons why I love Houzz.

Firstly, you can search for images of homes within Australia. If you are after a Hamptons kitchen or a modern black and white bathroom, you can search for these terms and filter for Australia only. Secondly, the builders, architects and designers who share their images will often share what materials they used for the new build or renovation. If they haven’t, there is the ability to ask them directly.There are links to their website and contact details, which means you can even collate a list of companies to engage with for your renovation.

 

You can also create a private ideas book where you can bookmark all your inspiration in the one file. Houzz is my first online resource I turn to for renovation inspiration.

Google Images

Google is my next go to. I type in what type of renovation I’m after, and when I press search, a list of website posts will come up. I click on the images tab and this makes scrolling images so easy. This search will allow you to get instantaneous image inspiration.

renovation inspiration for contemporary bathroom

Secondly, it gives you the ability to click on the image and be redirected to the site where the image was shared. Now this may not always happen on Google images because there is an unfortunate case of copyright issues with images being re shared and not credited to their original source.

To avoid being sent to a spammy website, I hover my mouse over the image to see what website it will redirect me to. If it goes to an interiors magazine, blog or even to Houzz, I know it’s safe to click through to get more information.

Online Magazines and Blogs

I can get a lot of inspiration from online magazines and blogs. Especially for current interior trends that won’t date. My go-to online website to visit is Homes to Love which is a curation of articles and images from popular interior magazines including Belle, Real Living, House and Garden, Inside Out, Country Style and Home Life.

homes to love inspiration

Adore Magazine is also another favourite with their home tours section. I also love blogs like The Interiors Addict, Style Curator, TLC Interiors Blog and Katrina Chambers Life and Design. Renovating for Profit by Cherie Barber is great for cosmetic renovation ideas. Also Three Birds Renovations is the ‘neutral’ renovator for white and bright interiors. These are only a few that I periodically read because I enjoy their before and after’s and their writing style. They are also image driven blogs, and this is important for your research.

reno addict inspiration renovation

Instagram

If you have an Instagram account, you can search hashtags for your desired renovation ideas. The more niche your design, the better results you will get with Instagram. A word of warning though when using Instagram for renovation inspiration: it’s become a platform of re-sharing images from other designers , so it can be hard to find the original source if they haven’t been credited correctly. It’s still a great place to peruse images though. Sometimes hashtags have been used incorrectly and I don’t always get the desired outcome to my search, but it can still be another online resource to use.

Pinterest

Pinterest can be great and you can find a lot of great renovation inspiration there, however, it’s my last resort when looking for ideas. The reason for this is I find a lot of pins (images) are from America, and are not always suitable for Australian homes. The second reason is many of the images are not linked to their original source or credited to the original designer, so you are unable to find out what materials were used or any information relating to the image.

renovation inspiration online

It’s definitely an online resource to keep in mind though as it gives you the ability to store your ideas (pin) in the one place while you research.

The internet makes researching for renovation inspiration much easier than ever. There are boundless sites that can give you even more ideas, but generally, these are my go-to sites.

Where do you go for renovation inspiration? What other online resources have you used for renovation ideas?

Expect The Best And Give Your Best To Others

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expect the best

I remember when I was in my early 20’s, my dad said something along the lines of ‘Bec, you will eventually need to do less because you will be too tired to fit all the things in your life.’ I remember scoffing to him in my head. I’m young and not old like you. I will be fine! Ha!

In my early 20’s, I was newly married and working full time business hours including hours at night, finishing my apprenticeship and studying personal styling. Two nights a week I’d be out. One night doing musical practice and another night catching up with friends at a bible study group. Weekends were filled with catching up with more friends, or celebrating milestones of engagement parties, weddings, 18th’s, 21st’s, 30th’s and baby showers. On the rare quiet weekend, I’d fill it with an impromptu double date with friends going out for dinner or seeing a movie.

pre-kids
Fresh Faced at 25 – Pre-kids

More than a decade later, life is very different.

I’m still married, but now have three children. Life is a juggle of organising where three children go while I manage a part-time job and a business, which are necessary to keep the mortgage paid and food on the table. My musical days are over as are week nights out unless absolutely necessary. Nights out with friends have to be booked a couple of months in advance. Jacob and I attend a connect group with families, which happens on weekends once a month. Sometimes we have to cancel if we need rest or I have to work.

post kids
Post kids – at 34 a few extra kgs, wrinkles, heavier eye lids and disheveled hair

Our Saturdays are filled with 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 year old birthday parties. Our quiet weekends are no longer an invitation to busy ourselves with others because it’s time to recoup.

Impromptu get-togethers with friends are met with ‘sorry, can we reschedule, I’m too tired,’ and feelings of relief when plans are canned because it’s a moment of unexpected quiet to watch a movie or go to bed early to catch up on sleep.

Juggling work, household demands, kids, marriage, finances, spiritual life (which is the undercurrent for life) and everything else that life demands from us, is exhausting.

But as I sat in church this morning, worshiping God singing

“It’s your breath, in our lungs
So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise
It’s your breath, in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to you only,” I became overwhelmed with the breath in my lungs, grateful for the full life God has blessed me with. Answered prayers came tumbling to my mind. I love how worship changes my perspective and my heart. It brings energy to a tired soul.

Life has certainly changed over the last decade. And while my 20-year-old self scoffed at my dad, I’m nearly mid-thirties and I get it. I so get it. And dad, you are right. I can’t do everything and rest is so important.

At the same time I’m thankful for this full life and the ups and downs that have so far made my 2018.

When 2018 started, I had beautiful friends and family say to me this year would be a good year for me.

I believed it with my whole heart. (Like I do EVERY year)

But then it felt like everything was falling apart in January because a job I had lined up fell through, and work I did, didn’t get paid (and still hasn’t been fully paid!). Sponsored work I did was being paid late (over 60 days!) and asking for payment for work I had previously done for free, and could no longer afford to do for free, fell on deaf ears. I felt like I was a little mouse on a spinning wheel getting nowhere. I felt stuck and started to question whether what I had poured into this blog and my online writing career had been worth it? Was it ever going to get better? Maybe this was never meant to be a job and just a hobby. A hobby to help people? Maybe it was time to find a ‘real’ job.

Around February this year when everything felt like it was going to crap, God was positioning the right people around me to change my life.

It felt daunting because it was something I would never have considered doing, but it could lead to places I’d never get to on my own. It was going to fit in with my criteria of being a present mum. For me, this was important.

As you know, I had my interview and got my job and have been in my job for 5 months.

I have been stretched with this job. I am out of my comfort zone with every shift.

I actually start every shift with butterflies in my stomach, and pray that God would help me help the people who are directed to my line.

Not long after I started my new job (possibly a couple of months), writing work I could have only dreamed about, came through. It was as if stepping out in faith into the unknown with this new job, also brought other opportunities and blessings in my writing work.

And I believe they’ve come through simply from being persistent, doing my best with every job opportunity that’s come my way, trying something new and never ceasing in prayer about the direction of my life. (Special thank you to my village who have never stopped praying)

I’ve come to the conclusion that my life direction is to simply help people.

It’s really what this blog has been built on.

It’s why I started my apprenticeship.

It’s why I pitch and write the articles I do to other publications

It’s why I do my current part-time job.

Helping people is my currency. I think it’s everyone’s currency. I think the lining of our heart will always question how can I help? How can I use my gifts and skills to help others?

The question we should ask ourselves is how can I help someone else with where I have been planted? How can I position myself to help myself and others better? There comes a point where this helping requires monetary payment to ensure the helping continues of course, but the reflection of the past 6 months has confirmed this thought.

While the job is going well, my life is far from perfect. I was speaking with a friend this week that we can’t have all our balls aligned perfectly. There is always a ball or two that needs attention, and when that ball is aligned to where it needs to be, another ball drops.

But I want to encourage you, wherever you are at in your 2018, the last half of the year can look different to the first half.

Today’s sermon at church was about that. The simple message was if we are to finish the last of 2018 well, it has to be focused on loving God and loving people. It’s crucial to understand the right sequence of this because you cannot love people, without loving God first. People are hard to love. Easy to love if they’re friendly, have good intentions and are lovable, but hard if they are nasty, bitter and are out to diss you any chance they get. Love is a choice. It’s about having the best intentions for others no matter who they are. It’s something I continually work on.

I’m keen to finish the second half of 2018 well. As I write this, my writing work has slightly stalled at the moment, but I’m not fearful. In fact, it positions me in an exciting place to see what God will bring to me next. And I know that the same can happen for you. I believe it.

Expect the best and give your best to others. Learn to rest when needed. Don’t overfill your plate.

I get a lot of encouragement from Proverbs 11 in The Message. I love verse 25 and it’s the verse I’m going to be holding on to as I finish the second part of this year.

expect the best and blessed verse

How has the first half of 2018 been for you? Do you expect the best when it comes to your day/month/year? What can you do to change your perspective so you’re aligned to finish 2018 well?

A Pamper Salon Experience For Children

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If you’re looking for experiences for a kids’ party or just because, Little Miss Pretty Pamper Parties may be the right indulgence for your princess or prince. It’s a pamper salon experience for children.

I usually have a small party for the girls for their Birthday each year, but this year I decided to do something different and book an experience for Phoebe and her sisters instead.

I didn’t want something that went all day, but would be enough fun for the girls to enjoy and make a lasting memory for Phoebe’s Birthday.

Unfortunately, Esther couldn’t come as she had chicken pox. She was able to spend some time with her dad, while I took the younger two to the experience.

The Little Miss Pretty Pamper Salon is located in Springfield. The salon is gorgeously decorated. The perfect parlor for a princess (or prince) to get pampered.

pamper salon experience for children

little miss pretty pamper parties

little miss pretty pamper salon

little miss pretty pamper salon

I booked the Delxue Package, where the girls got to wear a robe and have a manicure, pedicure, hair and age appropriate make-up done and a red fizzy drink to sip while getting their treatments.

pedicure time

Sure I could have organised a home pamper session, but this was for the Birthday girl. I love going to a salon, and I knew the girls would too.

drinking red fizz

phoebe's hair done

You can also do a mummy and daughter or grandma pamper session too, which I will need to book for Esther in the future.

pamper salon for children

children's pamper salon

Numbers are limited if you choose to have a party there, so it’s an ideal party for close friends or family members only.

sisters kiss

bonding experience

If you want to check out the packages available, head here.

But I definitely recommend it as a mummy and daughter date idea or for a Birthday celebration.

Have your kids ever attended a pamper salon experience for children? Would this be something your kids would enjoy?

How to Clean a Smelly Sink Drain Naturally

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How to Clean a Smelly Sink Drain Naturally

If you’ve wanted to know how to clean a smelly sink drain naturally, this post is for you.

The sink trap connected to the grated waste, can accumulate with sludge caused from congealed food particles and liquids. Rinsing plates, washing up and having food particles float in the sink and down the drain, are the main causes of the smell emitted from the sink.

Sinks with a garbage disposal can emit the worst smells. Despite the sink trap sealing off the main sewer gases, if food or sludge settles at the bottom of the trap, the sink will emit a smell every time you turn your tap on.

I noticed our sink drain had started to smell and it’s not something I can put up with for long. Thankfully I had all the natural ingredients at home to give the sink drain a natural clean, which would also remove the smell.

how to clean a smelly sink drain naturally

How to clean a smelly sink drain naturally

Ingredients

1/4 cup of bi carb soda

1 cup of white vinegar

1-4 drops of Lime and Lemon Essential Oil

smelly sink drain ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into a Pyrex jug and place this in the microwave for 2 minutes (or until it’s boiling)

2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of bi carb soda down the drain.

bicarb soda down drain

3. Add 1-4 drops of your favourite essential oil. I used doTERRA Lime and Lemon.

lime and lemon essential oil

clean smelly sink drains naturally

4. Pour the vinegar down the drain. It will bubble and froth. Leave in the sink for 10-15 minutes.

clean smelly sink drain

5. Fill your sink with water (using the plug), and release when half full for a flush out off the trap.

Hints & Tricks

I did this a couple of weeks ago and the sink drain smell hasn’t come back.

Do the full amount for each drain, so if you have a double bowl sink, do the same process twice (don’t halve the recipe).

After you’ve microwaved the vinegar, you will be able to use a cloth to clean out your microwave. The vinegar and steam seem to assist getting food particles and odours out of your microwave too.

This process can also clean the grate and plugs if they are looking dull.

Have you ever had to clean a smelly sink drain? What has worked for you?

 

The Best Window Coverings For Bathrooms

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The Best Window Coverings For Bathrooms

Every bathroom should have a window for ventilation and natural light. Generally, bathroom windows are frosted or textured for privacy, but if you have chosen a clear window in the bathroom, you will need a window covering. But what are the best window coverings for bathrooms?

best window coverings for bathrooms the plumbetteIt’s important to choose a window covering that will allow enough light and air to stream through, yet offer privacy when the bathroom is in use.

The bathroom can become a humid environment and this can prompt mould and mildew to grow so your window covering should also be waterproof. I reached out to Trent from QLD Custom Shutters, who has been in the business of window furnishings for more than a decade, to ask which are the best window coverings for bathrooms.

Best Window Coverings For Bathrooms

Trent says, “The window in a bathroom can be smaller than the rest of the windows in the house, so you want to get maximum amount of light and air flow as possible.”

Trent advises the PVC or Aluminium Shutter is the best window covering for the bathroom. They meet the three main factors of light control, airflow and privacy.

Aluminium Shutters

It can be hard for the consumer to distinguish between a timber, PVC and aluminum shutter but it’s vitally important to choose the right material for the bathroom due to moisture.

 

Aluminium shutters are generally used externally around the home and people disregard these for indoor use, but they are a viable solution indoors – especially in bathrooms. Their finish can look just as good as Timber or PVC.

Trent has installed these shutters in his own bathroom where his 3 kids soak the shutters with soapy water and shampoo nearly every night and they still look the goods. (I can totally relate to this Trent!)

Aluminium shutters can be more expensive than PVC and timber, however it will outlast all the bathroom window coverings as it won’t corrode, discolour or buckle from moisture. The only maintenance required is a wipe down with a microfibre cloth and your cleaning is done.

Aluminium shutters can come customized in a variety of colours, but the most popular colour choice is white.

If your window is next to the shower or bath and is prone to get wet, an aluminium shutter will be your best choice.

PVC Shutters

PVC shutters are more cost effective than aluminium. These can come in a customized colour, however the most popular colour is white.

 

PVC shutters won’t rot or swell as they are basically waterproof. But it’s important to check your PVC shutters have aluminium inserts in the blades, stiles and frames to add structural strength. PVC shutters without the aluminium blade are prone to distortion and can bend and twist, which is not an ideal look for your bathroom, let alone not value for money.

PVC shutters suit smaller bathroom windows and the toilet window. If you love the shutter look and can’t afford aluminium, then PVC may be the way for you to go. Just check the structure of your PVC shutter as not all PVC shutters are the same.

Roller Blinds (Holland Blinds)

Roller blinds can be another option as a bathroom window covering. The benefits of a roller blind are they offer privacy, UV protection, easy to roll up and down and can come in a water-resistant material. Roller blinds can offer a minimalistic look as the blind is installed within the window frame.

 

The cons to roller blinds are the water-proof fabric can harbor dust (I know this from experience!), they can bang against the window if the window is open (also know this from experience!) and they can shut off air flow and light, which can make your bathroom look dark. The lighter colour versions may not offer privacy at night. Lack of air flow can prompt mould and mildew growth, which is what you want to avoid in your bathroom. However they can be an economical up front solution.

 

Venetian Blinds and Vertical Blinds

A venetian or vertical blind can be installed in the bathroom, but they aren’t the most practical option. The small slats and cords can blow around when the window is open. If you do choose this option, choose PVC Venetian blinds instead of timber as the timber won’t last in moisture.

 

Vertical blinds are economical, resistant to UV rays and moisture. They have an older aesthetic though and aren’t a popular choice for the bathroom.

 

Shutters are by far the most popular window covering for the bathroom as it covers the three factors which are required in every home window and door.

Trent advises, “Yes, blinds are cheaper upfront. But long term, much more expensive. Most people replace these every 3-5 years, plus the extra costs for mould and mildew treatments, as well as the possible health issues that could arise. Don’t forget the three factors (light, airflow and privacy). You cannot have these with blinds.”

What window covering did you choose for your bathroom? Which window covering is your favourite?

Our New Coffee Table Book From Chatbooks

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photobook from chatbooks

Last Christmas, I installed the Chatbooks App on my phone. They were having a Boxing Day sale and I went about collating all our photos from 2017 into a book.

The thing was, as I was compiling it, 2017 hadn’t officially finished.

So I left it and because it was out of sight, it was out of mind.

It wasn’t until last month, I decided to finish collating the book and get it published. Of course the Boxing Day sale was no longer applicable. But I didn’t care. I just wanted the book to be published.

It was so easy to put together and I decided to go all out with a hard cover.

I received the book a week before my Birthday and I was so happy with the quality.

coffee table book from chatbooks
It was the best $100 I’ve spent.

I flipped through each page, reliving all our family moments from special family events to our trips to Stanthorpe and Coffs Harbour and all the ordinary days in between.

chatbooks photo book

The girls love flipping through the book to relive each memory. This certainly won’t be the last time I purchase a photo book. In fact, I still need to compile a baby album for Phoebe.

phoebe flipping through chatbooks

chatbooks photo book

If there is one thing I learned as I flipped through the book, it’s that the everyday moments count just as much as the high moments in life.

photobook chatbooks

chatbooks photo book

The book made me even more grateful for the family I have and the girls I get the privilege of raising.

chatbooks photo book

If you’ve never created a photo book before, I can definitely recommend Chatbooks. It was easy to use the app to select the photos on your camera roll. You don’t have to select photos you’ve published on Instagram either. Some of the photos were taken on our Olympus camera and we used the WIFI function to download the photos to our camera roll on our phone. Each photo has a date of when it was taken too so the book is compiled in order.

chatbooks photo book

If I’m having a not so fabulous day at home, I know the book will be something I can grab and flick through. And it’s a treasure that we can all look back on.

Have you used Chatbooks to create a photo book? What other photo book apps have you used?

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?