Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Trying Costa Rican Coffee for the First Time


Did you know that in TarrazĂș (pronounced “Tar-ah-zoo”), CostaRica it rains 7 months out of the year? The climate of TarrazĂș is split into two well-defined seasons, wet and dry. This climate pattern is ideal for growing coffee, which the region is famous for!

After learning of this vital coffee information, I decided to give Costa Rican coffee a try. A friend of mine wouldn't stop raving about after their trip through Central & South America

I found a few options online, but figured I should start with one of the most well known brands out there, Cafe Britt.


I learned of Cafe Britt after coming across this article. The reason why I decided to order from them is that 1) the beans are sourced ethically and 2) it seemed like the most "direct" way to acquire these magical coffee beans from the other side of the world.

So how did it taste?

AMAZING!!!

I went straight for the instense variety from Tarrazu. I'd highly recommend it to any coffee drinker who loves their a strong, bold pick-me-up.


Monday, 10 July 2017

Researching Flooring: 10 Different Flooring Options

I've talked a bit about flooring on my blog here before, but lately I've been doing a lot more research as I'm helping a friend narrow down their choices with the purchase of their new home.

Here's the culmination of the research so far:

Sustainable floorings (bamboo and cork)

Major advantages of cork flooring
  • For designing purpose, it resembles the traditional plank wood flooring
  • For installing it, glues nails and floating method can be used
  • It is available in different colors which are both natural and stained
  • It is hard in texture and is much durable 
Major advantages of cork flooring
  • It has tiles that be installed with glue and has planks that can be fixed with floating method
  • It has variety of colors that are both natural and stained
  • It has a noise reduction property

Spend less and get more with Vinyl tiles 

Major advantages of cork flooring
  • vinyl tiles are quite durable and will last you a very long time
  • they are quite easy to clean
  • healthier and more hygienic option


All you need to know about luxury vinyl planks

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floors are beautifully designed natural looking floors.
Advantages:
  • Easy installation
  • More affordable than timber
  • Durable; will not lose that new shine and crisp for a very long time.

Get the real look from vinyl sheet flooring 

Looks better than I expected!
  • available in a large variety of colors 
  • can go with almost all sorts of themes
  • resistant to moisture, good for wet areas




 Save your money, laminate your floors

Fact I didn't know about laminate flooring:
Made of several layers of composite products fused together. The layers are divided into four portions to be exact. The lowest layer is of melamine resin. This is there to add moisture resistance and stability. Then the layer above that is made of fiberboard of high density. This is the thickest layer. The second last layer is basically a photographic 3D layer which is also decorative. The last one is transparent white and is there to protect it from liquids, scratches or any other damages. 


Reasons Why You Need Laminate Flooring



  • Looks just like hardwood floors but laminate floors are affordable
  • Burn resistant
  • Resistant to liquids
  • Easy to clean





  • More affordable option that hardwood
  • Different types of boards (different ways to install)
  • Can be cleaned with regular floor cleaners
  • Low maintenance flooring
  • Looks great with the type of blinds and shutters we want to use


Learn more about engineered timber

It's a good idea to check the manufacturing process of engineered timber, as it can differ as seen below:
The composite wood or engineered timber is built by binding together wood with several adhesives. Their thickness varies between 21mm, 20mm and the minimum is 18mm. they have two layers to give them extra amount of stability and strength.  The layers are of different materials and each layer represents each different material. The top layer which is 6mm thick is made of real wood.  The bottom layer which is also the last layer is produced of heavy duty and good quality ply wood.

Installation of laminate flooring


The installation required for laminate is fast and hurdle free. It is the most convenient flooring option to be installed. No dust or garbage is created during its installation. It brings minimum disruption to your home when being installed. 


Friday, 19 May 2017

Fantastic Family Photos

Hi all. So we've seen a lot of our extended family on both sides over the last few months, and seeing all of the kids cousins, aunts and uncles was great fun. Both the kiddos were loving their time with their cousins, and it was nice kind of parent by committee with all of the relatives there to help look after eachothers kids.

Anyway, after seeing how much the all of our nieces and nephews had grow since the last time we had seen them, I decided it is important to capture this moment in time. I decided to book in with a professional photographer on the Central Coast, Miss Smith Photography.


One of my girlfriends recommended Miss Smith Photography as they'd done a maternity photoshoot with Ashley and loved it. Feeling comfortable in front of the camera is not something that comes natural to me (and is why I don't post photos of myself or the family on this blog) so the recommendation meant a lot.

I' a few years late, but I would have loved to have had a hired newborn photographer when the kids were newborns. After seeing some of the photos by Miss Smith Photography on the website it started to inspire me to have another, but I don't think hubby was too keen on the idea.

Overall the photoshoot was fantastic. If anyone is looking for a professional photographer on the Central Coast check out Miss Smith Photography:


Miss Smith Photography central coast photographer Price: from $200
5 stars - based on 8 reviews
92 Booker Bay Rd Booker Bay, NSW 2257
0469 738 748 Area served: Central Coast ,

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Our next trip to Perth

I previously wrote about my bestie (known on this as P) moving to Perth. I was a bit devastated at the time, but we've gained a great spot to holiday in when we get the chance :D

Because we now get free accomodation thanks to my best friend, we have some extra pocket money set aside for spending on activities when we get there!

This lead me to start researching things to do in Perth. I actually came across that post after following starryeyeing.com, a beautiful Bulgarian fashion blogger. I have a bit of a woman crush on her and love the beauty tutorials... So anyways she linked to that article about Perth and now I want to meet a Quokka!

Image source: wikimedia.org

So the next time we go to see P we're definitely going to take a ferry trip to Rotnest Island and take an awesome selfie with a fluffy ball of adorable known as a Quokka!

Apparently they're known as the "world's happiest animal" so I'd like to go see it for myself. I find it hard to believe that they're any happier than P's Italian greyhound when he gets a treat, but we'll soon find out!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Getting moody with mood boards

I've recently been working with a friend of mine regarding their decision to build their dream home. I have a bit of experience in interior design, and after spending some time chatting and looking at ideas on Pinterest, my friend wanted to get my help in choosing a residential architect in Sydney.

After doing some research online, we spoke with a company who clearly understood our requirements. Both of us had a really good idea of the interior based on what we'd talked about, and sitting down for coutnless hours looking for inspiration.

We created a mood board, which is something I highly recommend for any of you out there that are looking into undergoing ANY type of design project. If you’re like me, you’re probably bookmarking designs you find online left, right and centre. It's like a digital collage of ideas that is a great reference point to return to when your design guru starts asking you questions outside of your area of expertise.

Image source

Before I got into the habit of creating mood boards, I found outsourcing the design process to be a very tedious task. My hubby had me help handle the organising of the assets to get his businesses website re-designed.

I run my own blog, but I have NO IDEA when it comes to search engine optimisation and other technical aspects of web design. So when the digital agency we hired (who were great by the way) helped walk us through the more technical aspects, we were able to achieve those aspects without neglecting our original design concepts.

Long story short - create mood boards! If you're finding your design or DIY renovation projects too much handle, you can easily review your boards and get back on track.

I use Pinterest for mine, but you can use any visual bookmarking tool you like :D

Sunday, 2 April 2017

"If no one ever took risks, Michaelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor" - Neil Simon

So we're on a renovation streak, and we're shopping for new floors. Even though we live in a smaller city (i mean Newcastle is pretty big, but it's definitely not as big as Sydney) there's such a huge amount of stores selling flooring in Newcastle.

In our research, we ended up comparing prices on the Newcastle Carpet one website. We've spent (invested?!) quite a lot on the house lately, so we wanted to stay within budget. Hubby and I typically plan out budgets for everything we do, but when it comes to the house we have a habit of blowing the budget out... Oops!

In this instance though we were extra focused on staying within the allocated budget, including installation. One bonus is that we found out there's a bunch of warranties for carpet from Carpet One which makes the pricing even more attractive.

Sustainability is important for us, so we've been looking at sustainable flooring options. Bamboo floors look like the way we're going go, and I've been looking at how they're made. The process is truly amazing, and it does make you feel warm and fuzzy knowing that they're sustainable and sourced responsibly.

Image source
Hubby is more into engineered timber floors, as he gets the look that he's after of the more traditional style hardwood-timber, but much more affordable (within our budget! hehe) and significantly less costly to install. As the flooring consultant I spoke to mentioned to me "it's the total installed price that counts" which is 100% correct. My advice is figuring out the installation cost before committing to anything!

We're still in the research process, but I expect we'll have some nice looking new floors in our home by mid 2017!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Roaming the Wild West... Our Trip to Perth

When your best friend moves interstate, you think to yourself that hey, at least she didn’t move overseas… Except when that state is Western Australia, a full FIVE hour flight and three hour time difference from most of the rest of Australia. I’ve been promising P for months that yes, I’d make the trip to visit her in her new city and last weekend I did.

Of course, there was another reason for the trip… P had a few boxes still in storage at Chess Moving’s Sydney HQ and it was cheaper to add these on as luggage than ship them, so I popped in on the way to the airport to do a pick up.

The kids love visiting the airport, they are mesmerized by the airplanes taking off and landing and ask me more questions than I am able to answer. I told Miss 3 that the wheels are controlled by little elves who sit in a special seat right by the wheels… sounds like an OHS law suit waiting to happen, but she was impressed.

I’ve never been to Perth before, and I was nervous about taking the kids on the airplane for that length of time, especially as J was staying behind because he had “too much stuff on at work” (typical workaholic response!).

Because I’ve got the two kids in tow, and I wanted to make the most of our time there, I decided to book a hire car online before we left. I organised for Burswood car hire company in Perth to drop the car off at Perth Airport, so P didn’t have to collect us during the school afternoon rush. I booked the hire car online and It was the simplest car hire I’d ever done, and the right car showed up which is a near miracle in car hire world.

That was Thursday afternoon. P opted to take Friday off work so we could enjoy our time together properly, and also fit in a sneaky trip down to Margaret River, but more on that later.

On Friday, as promised, P’s husband, H, (who is far more willing than my husband to chuck a sickie) stayed home with the kids to allow the two of us to pop in and out of boutiques in the suburbs of Mt Lawley and Leederville before indulging in cheesy burgers and endless onion rings. Just like old times!

We got back to hers with more than enough time to pile the kids and P’s hubby between P’s car and my rental and beat the after work traffic escaping the city for the gorgeous beachside wine region of Margaret River.

We spent the next two days popping in and out of wineries, letting the kids run among the vineyards as we sipped on shiraz, chardonnay and rose’s from across the region. We even managed to get the little ones to sit still long enough to enjoy a meal one of them. Can you even imagine?!

It probably helped that we bribed the kid’s with a trip to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory for milkshakes… and treats to take home.

As we drove back late Sunday afternoon, we made one final pit stop at Western Australian institution, Simmo’s Ice Cream to treat the kids… and the adults! It may have been our last night together, but as we sat out on the lawn slurping up mango ice cream, you could not find a group of happier people.
P, I miss you already and can’t wait for our next reunion… I was thinking we meet half way and check out the Barossa Valley?