Good food is everything, but cooking sometimes sucks...

Another long day, followed by an exhausting cooking session. Instead of singing along to carols, I’ve been listening to the little Miss and Master whinge. I think I'll pass (out), wouldn't you? There are one hundred other ways I’d rather spend my night. Cooking is definitely not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking when I’m feeling relaxed, but not when I’m tired and grouchy (though I still do it without complaining).

Let’s face it, I’m no Nigella Lawson (sadly my husband would agree, she’s his number one celebrity crush). But even if I was a culinary goddess, I never look forward to entering the kitchen after a tiring day, unless it’s to get a glass of wine or block of chocolate.

Frankly there’s nothing better than coming home and putting your feet up, without worrying about cooking. As a family, we aim to eat out once a week, though this doesn’t always transpire.

When in Sydney, do as the Sydney-ians do and head to this restaurant in Crows Nest

Occasionally J and I get to escape from the kids enjoy alone time, but not as often as we’d like. There’s a restaurant in Crows Nest that we love to visit, even though it’s a bit of a trek from home! We usually only do this when we’re spending the weekend with family. But it will no doubt become our regular watering hole, if we move closer to Sydney in the future (we’re seriously discussing this...but eh, who knows).

The Monte Alto cafe transforms into a restaurant and bar at night. If you enjoy modern Aussie cuisine, their menu is a perfect fit. Their food is pretty damn good and their drinks menu never fails to give me a buzz. They’re actually known for having one of the largest gin and whisky selections on the North Shore (I can certainly attest to its variety).

I’ve taken the little Master and Miss to Monte Alto for lunch during the day, on a number of weekends. Surprisingly they sit down long enough to finish a good portion of their meals.

They’re major fans of the french toast, which they beg me to make at least once a week. They seem pretty happy with my efforts, but Master usually asks why it tastes so different at the Crows Nest cafe. I think by “different” he means “better”, but he’s too sweet to say. Thanks for sparing my feelings, little man! I raised you well.

As far as other restaurants in Crows Nest go, I haven’t been to many. But if they’re all like Monte Alto, I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone and experiment more. If there’s one thing I hate about dining in Sydney, it’s that so many restaurants feature that expensive “art on a plate” nonsense that barely scrapes the surface of my hunger.

You shouldn’t have that problem at Monte Alto though. I’m pretty impressed by their variety of reasonably priced dishes, which are made from fresh ingredients.

My go-to meal is the Atlantic salmon - which is full of flavour but healthy at the same time. Although I confess, when I'm feeling extra hungry, I'll go for a bowl of the chicken and mushroom fettuccine. They also have a great selection of indulgent desserts, which is a must for chocoholics like me. The Belgian chocolate mousse cake is amazing by the way, I’m salivating at the thought of it right now.

Do you have any favourite restaurants that you recommend? Particularly in Sydney? My troops and I will be spending the Christmas and New Year period with family in Redfern, and we want to try some new places!

Lovely people. Highly recommended

I would not hesitate to recommend these guys to anyone. If you're in the Newcastle area and looking to buy carpet, flooring or blinds, check these guys out:

Probably the best flooring store in Newcastle. Once I stepped into the store I was stunned with the numerous flooring options available. Gone are the days when kitchen flooring meant some cheap and ugly lino. There's some seriously impressive options here for affordable prices.

Factoring my budget into the decision truly helped me find the right match without breaking the bank. Price is obviously an important factor for a family like ours on a tight budget, but I really had to consider all options, meaning the lowest price for the floor that fit our home and lifestyle the best.

They were also extremely knowledgeable about shutters and blinds. I have somewhat of a unique setup at home with different window types, angles, etc (i'm no window expert, but hubby helped me get some measurements) and they were very helpful.

We have some timber venetians at the moment which are fading from the outside sunlight (these windows draw a lot of sunshine during the day) so I wanted something that will last. Dual roller blinds are extremely popular in my circle of friends. The bonus is that if you purchase from a reputable company like these guys, their fabrics are covered under warranty – so this helps minimise the risk in fading. Talk about a lifesaver!

We also discussed fabris of the different types of blinds. I hear that darker colors do give good vision, however lighter colored fabrics reflect more light and thus provide limited vision through them. Pretty cool, huh?

Check out their range of shutters and blinds in Newcastle. I'm thinking venetians for our living spaces, and maybe splurging on some automated shutters too!

After discussing it all, the idea of these dual roller blinds sits really well with us. Does anyone else have experience with them? My only concern is the cables around the kids, but other than that they look pretty good too. Decisions, decisions!

Putting your clothes in good hands

Ok, raise your hands if you’ve had a difficult experience with dry cleaning?

I have, and sadly I’ll never be able to wear one of my favourite outfits again.

I once had the misfortune of smudging wedding cake frosting on a PERFECT dress (alcohol may or may not have been involved *cough*). I won’t name and shame, but the fabric was never the same after my previous dry cleaner got his hands on it. I don’t know what he did, but honestly, it looked better with the cake stain!

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even insist on getting my money back, because I couldn’t muster the energy to argue with the man at the time (it had been a long day, which is a poor excuse, I know).

And I probably won’t get the chance to exercise my assertiveness muscle any time soon, because I’ve changed drycleaners, after my cousin sang the praises of Maria’s Ironing Services in Sydney.

Maria's Ironing service Sydney

Dry cleaning isn’t really a topic that would excite the average person, but I’m pretty satisfied with the service they deliver. I figure this information could be useful to others who’ve been burnt by clumsy operators (yes Mr Dry Cleaner, I’m talking about you).

So far I’ve taken a few items to Maria’s for altering and they’re now the only service I use if I need delicate fabrics pressed or cleaned. They’re really good at fitting you in at the last minute and having your clothes ready in time. The prices are fairly reasonable too!

I generally drop-off and collect the clothes myself, but I’ve used their pick-up and delivery service once, which was a godsend on that particularly hectic day.

Have you ever had a disastrous dry cleaning experience, or is there an excellent service you recommend? If so, please leave a comment below!

7 Coffee Articles You Must Read! ☕ Mmmmm... COFFEE!!!

I can't tell a lie – I love my coffee. From a fancy double-shot java brewed with love to a soy latte whipped up by a slick city barista, I love it all! I've gotten into the habit recently of experimenting with new types of coffee and I have to admit its been a delicious adventure!

There's nothing like a great cup of coffee, which is why I've gone into research mode to find MY ideal cup of coffee. I've learnt a lot about coffee beans and production - it's been very interesting. Anyways I found these on Pinterest and thought I should share them with you all!
  1. Coffee pods with its rich taste that would make anybody go gaga over it

  2. Single Origin Coffee-Get Top Quality Packs at an Affordable Price

  3. How Shade Grown Organic Coffee is made

  4. Coffee is perhaps the most popular beverage in the world today. For millions of people around the world, the day does not start until they take one sip from their favourite cuppa.


  6. Speciality Coffee - Find Top Quality Brands Online At Affordable Pricest

  7. The store sells products made in a particular location, and every pack contains best quality coffee.

I just received fantastic advice!

I just received the best advice for developing a digital marketing strategy that I had to hop on my blog and rave about these guys:

Not I see why they're known as the "#1 Digital Agency in Brisbane, QLD, Australia"

I work full time and am building my own business on the side, which is extremely challenging. Especially the whole "digital marketing part. Between trying to figure out that and raising two energetic kids, I enjoy any downtime I can muster with bubble baths, regular date nights with J and reflecting about life on this here blog.

Any advice which saves me time means more "mum time", bubble baths and date nights with J! 

It's okay to be a little bit selfish, right? 😉

The Marketing Mystery that is Gen Z

I'm helping a friend with a new project that requires marketing to Gen Z. For those of you that don't know, Gen Z is:
Generation Z is the demographic cohort after the Millennials. There are no precise dates for when Generation Z starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use mid-1990s to the mid-2000s - Wikipedia
I came across this tweet online, which helped me out a little.
My previous role had me running all different kinds of marketing campaigns, but I feel my skills are a little out of date. Gen Z are on platforms like Snapchat, and I have absolutely no idea how it works! I downloaded the app to my phone and literally couldn't figure out how to even share an image.

Maybe its time for me to upgrade my skills, eh?

#BusinessInspo - Walking in the shoes of your customers by Nigel T Packer

Extremely relevant to me right now with my new business idea

Check out the video below featuring Nigel T Packer, through his international work, has provided businesses with a wealth of understanding in the way we use it and the irritations that make us want to throw our mobiles, tablets and PC’s out of the window. 

This talk has helped me understand that developing an awareness of the user’s journey is integral in getting more customers.


This is helping me decide on how to target my customers! 

Next up? Choosing a business location! Eek i'm so excited 😁😁😁

Taking the leap - starting my online business

If anyone warned me what a headache building my own business would be, I probably never would have taken the leap.

In many ways I feel as though I’m falling without a parachute (the closest experience I can relate this to is that weird jumpy sensation you get in the pit of your stomach when you’re on a roller coaster).

But honestly, I’m relieved that nobody scared me away from embarking on this adventure. As daunting as it is, I’m actually enjoying being thrown out of my comfort zone.

I never thought I’d be someone who says that (oh how the times have changed from those days when watching Dirty Dancing in my trackies was as exciting as life got).

I embrace this evolution, even though I’m stumbling along the way...and it seems I’m not the only one.

Did you know that roughly 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail when opening their online business? via

Believe it or not, I’m comforted by this fact!

Not only does it lift some of the pressure to hit the perfect note the first time, but I’m reminded of the importance of doing my research before launching my website and promoting it through social media.

Wrapping my head around how the internet works from a business perspective is no easy task, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading and I’m keen to work with an SEO services company to develop a powerful marketing strategy (but first, I want to create an amazing website).

I’m currently in the very early stages of conducting market research to find out who would be most interested in my business. I’ve learnt there’s no point in trying to appeal to everyone. In fact, this can be detrimental to your brand. Once I figure out my target demographic, I’ll be able to tailor my marketing campaign to appeal to that group specifically, which will make it more powerful (I hope!).

More food for thought - what’s my unique selling point that will set me apart from the fierce competition? (in some ways, narrowing this down depends on who my target audience is….which I’m yet to figure out).

I’ll admit, it isn’t easy juggling my full time job and “mum duties” with starting this business, but I’m excited to see how it develops. Watch this space to find out more about my project (which I won’t jinx by giving too much away during the pre-conception days).

My toothless adventure (and what I did about it)

If you’re the observant type, you’ll notice something unfortunate about my photos from the past year - I NEVER show my teeth when I smile.

In fact my lips are pressed so tightly together, you’d be forgiven for wondering if I have any teeth at all.

(I promise I do.)

It’s not that I’m a grouch, but I’ve been hiding a missing tooth for the last seven months (one of my front-ish side teeth...I believe it’s called a “first premolar”).

Last summer I tried surfing for the first (and last) time at a health retreat with my friends (J looked after the little ones...bless him). Never again. It was a disaster. The ocean tossed me around like a toy and a particularly vengeful wave sent the board flying into my mouth.

Not only was this humiliating (the spunky instructor actually laughed at me, I kid you not) but it must have loosened my tooth somewhat.

Nothing “zen” about that.

Fast forward to a week later, there I am eating an olive (perhaps a little too enthusiastically). I accidently chomp down on the pit, and BAM….my poor tooth is hanging on for death life. I had no choice but to yank it out - instantly transported to my childhood, but with no gift from the tooth fairy to look forward to!

Anyway, you probably don’t want to read my entire life story. The point of this post is to brag that I now have a smile that rivals even the flashiest models in those toothpaste ads. My confidence has been restored with a full set of teeth, and I have Dr Alistair Graham from Mona Vale Dental to thank for that (thank you, thank you, thank you!).  

  (not me...but this is how I now feel)

“Dental implant” sounds like a daunting procedure to me - which is why I delayed getting one for so long. Dr Graham put me at ease straight away. He explained everything and patiently answered my long list of questions (I like to be prepared). Dr Graham held my hand (figuratively speaking) through every step of the process - from the consultation, x-rays and scans to the actual procedure and recovery.

A dental implant is basically an artificial root that’s surgically inserted into your mouth to replace the root of your natural tooth. This attaches to an artificial tooth that looks and feels every bit as real as an organic tooth (I can’t tell the difference, neither can any of my loved ones...and they’re painfully honest about these things).

The surgery itself went really well and I’m booked in for another appointment in a few days (not dreading this one).

Why didn’t I have this procedure sooner? I could have spared the world so many grimacing “half-smile” photos and avoided looking like a camel when chewing food disproportionately on one side of my mouth.

If you’re in a similar situation but feeling anxious about getting a dental implant, don’t procrastinate like I did. The sooner you get it done, the better (so you can stop hiding your smile and chewing like a camel too).

Trying Costa Rican Coffee for the First Time

Did you know that in Tarrazú (pronounced “Tar-ah-zoo”), CostaRica it rains 7 months out of the year? The climate of Tarrazú 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?


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.

Researching Flooring: 11 Different Flooring Options (UPDATED)

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:

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury vinyl plank floors this is a type of flooring that replicates the look and texture of high-end floors such as timber hardwood and tile, but are more affordable, easier to install, and come with added durability.

Sustainable flooring (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.
  • 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. 

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 ,

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, 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:

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!

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

"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!

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?

Grandad is getting some wheels

My dad took a major fall recently and it’s sent the family into a bit of disarray. He was once an architect in Sydney (back when the job required a fair amount of movement and activity) but he's now retired and spends most of his day watching horseracing.

 My brother and I have been insisting for years that dad consider moving – not necessarily out of his home, but at least to the ground floor of his two-storey. We know he won’t leave the family home, he’ll die before he ever lets us suggest a retirement home. But at least just living entirely on the ground floor? Well we didn’t think that was such a big ask!

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks reshuffling his house, moving his bed into my brother’s childhood bedroom and setting up a ramp at the front steps, because he’ll be confined to a wheelchair for a few months while he recovers from hip surgery the doctors did tell us recovery could be longer, but dad doesn’t need to know that yet.

Being such an active man in his younger days, it’s been emotionally tolling on him to give up his mobility, but he’s slowly coming around to the idea, especially now he’s got a snazzy motorised wheelchair that means he can whizz around without too much effort. We picked it up from Comfort Discovered, who spent time with dad asking lots of questions to make sure he rolled out with the perfect set of wheels to suit not only his injury, but also his lifestyle.

Image source

He’s got a little bag on the back to carry a book wherever he goes, he’s still able to roll up the hill to the beach using the motor function and he tells us it’s actually pretty comfortable although he can’t wait to recover so he can move back upstairs. Yeah, in his dreams!

Even when he is mobile again, we’re cautious about letting him move back upstairs. He keeps talking about the stair lifts he saw in the Comfort Discovered showroom, but we aren’t so sure that’s necessary yet. We also had his bathroom fitted out with appropriate aids (a shower chair and some rails to help him manoeuvre in and out of his wheelchair) and his bed got a bit of a makeover with a wedge to help keep the pressure off his hips while he sleeps. He resisted using these at first, and watching him have to admit that yes, he did need the extra assistance in the bathroom was amusing.

J said he can see where I get my stubborn streak from! My brother and I are taking turns going over to help dad prepare dinner, and the kids are loving spending extra time with their grandad – but that’s probably because he has a pretty impressive lolly jar and kept all of my childhood Lego. Families, right?

The Veggie Patch that Could

I’ve not got the slightest green thumb, but I decided growing a veggie patch with the kids would be a great way to help them at least TRY new vegetables. I read somewhere that kids are often more inclined to eat veggies if they’re involved in the process of growing them. I’ve already found this helps a bit if I involve them in the cooking process, as they definitely want to try their pizzas filled with all sorts of veggies that they put on top. (In our house, you don’t get any cheese or ham unless you put at least two different coloured veggies on your mini pizzas first!)
I started small and planted some herbs (basil, parsley and mint) and a patch of cherry tomatoes – as I didn’t want to jump into something too hard to manage before I was ready – but they never grew. Despite my regular watering and care to ensure they were planted in a spot that got good sun nothing popped up. I felt entirely defeated! I did a little Googling and it seemed that potentially there was something wrong with the soil in my yard.
I decided to call SESL Australia about doing a soil test to see what was wrong with it and just as I suspected, my soil was broken! It seemed the acidity was a touch too high and was stopping the seeds absorbing the nutrients they needed to sprout.
They were even able to recommend what I should do to fix it, which was amazing. I was even able to pick up the compost and manure they recommended from our local nursery. And we could do this all via the mail and over the phone – which made it much easier with the kids.
So I replanted the seeds after the fix and this morning, the very first seedlings popped up through the soil. The kids were so excited to see that their vigilant watering was paying off and have already named the handful of little leaves (At least three of them are called Sarah). Little do they know that handful will quickly turn into great big bunches of glorious food.
Now I’ve just got to think of some good recipes to cook with the kids in the hopes of encouraging them to try tarragon. Perhaps I’ll make some chicken, mayo and tarragon sandwiches for our next picnic at the beach.

Bling, bling smiles

I know it seems like overkill to drive all the way into Sydney CBD to visit a dentist, but when you’ve got a good one… well as Marvin Gaye put it:
ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough babe!
I’ve never much enjoyed visiting the dentist (I know, my fears are just so unique!), but I actually enjoy my annual visits to Dr Fadi Yassmin. He’s a cosmetic dentist, which means he’s concerned with appearance just as much as he is with tooth health.

DFY Dental. Source

This was actually my second visit this year, although the kids first, as I had to get a veneer replaced because I chipped it and popped into the emergency dentist in Newcastle, where a non-cosmetic dentist filed off the chip, leaving me with a stumpy, blunt tooth… which was the entire reason I got a veneer in the first place: to disguise a stumpy, blunt tooth.

DFY Dental also specialises in digital smile design. So Dr. Fadi showed me the process and it was pretty amazing - I’ve got to say, they were pretty well behaved the whole time too… although that might have been because the promise of a trip to Taronga Zoo loomed in their future if they sat still and didn’t complain
Master 6 has already lost two teeth and one of those gaps has started to grow an adult tooth, which he was very proud to show off to Dr. Fadi. It’s coming in a little wonky, although Dr. Fadi did say it’s still too early to know if that means braces are on the cards… I best start saving just in case!

Miss 3 asked for ‘sparkly teeth like the men on TV’, I guess she recently spotted some rappers on the Grammy Awards red carpet, flashing their blingy mouth grills.

Image result for bling grill grammys
Rapper "Lil Yachty spent $35,000 on his mouth Jewelry for the Grammy's . Source

I’m not surprised she thought it was cool, I would’ve been exactly the same at her age. Dr. Fadi has a great sense of humour though, and told her the tooth fairy gets to decide who gets sparkly teeth and who doesn’t – and it all comes down to how well you brush your teeth each night! Hey, if that’s what it takes to make tooth brushing time easier each night, I’m willing to perpetuate the lie.
While I was in the chair, getting my veneer replaced, the kids sat quietly in the corner, enthralled with the iPad (which is normally off limits, but sometimes you’ve gotta make concessions!). At the slightest whinge, Dr. Fadi reminded them about seeing the elephants and they zipped it pretty quickly.

We made it to the zoo just after lunchtime, I’m pleased to say, and the kids snoozed the entire drive back to Newcastle. But most importantly, in the photos from that day are filled with bright, white smiles thanks to Dr. Fadi.