So I still have been a little slack on the blogging scene but... I'll get there!
I've been meaning to take some photos of the home as it progresses, but I haven't been very good with that either. I'll try to take some shots on a lovely sunny day, so you can see the way that the light streams through the back windows in the morning and the front of the house in the afternoon!
One thing that we have been working on lately is our outdoor area. We don't have a huge yard, but we do have a lovely little deck which we are determined to make into a lovely area to entertain guests, or just sit and relax on a sunny day.
The picture below is a photo of the deck from the realestate listing, before we moved in.
As you can see, it was a little bit grubby and the garden was way overgrown!
A few days after we moved in, my parents came to visit and dad took this snap of the back deck.
We had cleaned it up a little, but there was still something missing out there!
Given the Melbourne weather, and the fact that I love being outdoors at any time of the day, we decided that a roof would be essential. We wanted to be protected from the elements, as well as being able to make full use of our deck all year round! So with that in mind, we got to work...
When I say "we", I mean Liam and our Chippy friend. I did have the ever-important role of making pancakes with berries and ice cream to fuel the job though!
Did you know that beer is also an essential tool for building a deck roof?
With all the essentials taken care of, and lots of beer and pancakes filling their bellies, the boys worked hard and pretty soon our new roof started to take shape!
My dedicated little workers bees did a fantastic job, and by lunch time the roof was complete!
Let me tell you, I could not be happier with the result...
We've still got a bit of work to do with it, but I'm pretty pleased with it for the moment! We've bought some snazzy new outdoor furniture to complement it and I'm looking forward to a summer full of BBQ and drinkies out on the back deck!
Next step is to pull up and replace all the existing timbers, and extend it our slightly. We're also in talks to create and install a water wall which I've got all sorts of ideas for! We have gotten a quote for some shade blinds but it's come back at a rather high price. Does anybody have any ideas for alternatives to keep the rain out and the heat in on colder evenings?
I'm looking forward to doing somemore cosmetic work over the summer, to pretty it up a bit.
So I've been missing in action from the blog scene recently! I've had a lot going on, and there's been a number of unexpected family things which have been a little overwhelming, to say the least!
All that aside, we've settled well into our new home. There are a few cosmetic things to take care of, and minor renovations that we want to happen, but that will all come in good time! All of the important stuff is pretty well sorted however, and we are loving life!
One of the best things about being in our new home is the massive kitchen all to myself, and a fully functioning oven with which to work with! I've been spending many a weekend baking up a frenzy.
A few weeks ago, my trusty red mixer and I decided to action some yummy choc chip cookies!
The recipe was so simple, and with my fan-forced machine of an oven they took no time at all, and the result was just divine! I used this recipe from Exclusively Food, which produces beautifully chewy cookies with satisfyingly crunchy edges!
This will definitely be a regular in my kitchen! J
Liam absolutely adores trains and trams, so a few weeks ago I planned a surprise trip to the Healesville Heritage Railway Festival. As you can see, the weather wasn't the best, but it was a fantastic day out!
And of course - what's a festival without a little kiosk food?! :)
So this is a bit of a wordy way to start my Wordless Wednesday entry, but I had to say thank you for all your lovely responses on my last post about my dear friend, Sally. I was a bit afraid there might be some backlash because of the sensitive nature of the topic and the situation at hand, but your supportive messages made me feel better.
I miss her every day, and sometimes things will happen where she randomly pops into my thoughts and I think of how I would just love to see her and tell her about everything that has been happening.
I spoke to one of Sally's sisters last week, and she said she was comforted by the fact that she remains in the thoughts of her friends, and will be forever cared about wherever she may be. I will never forget her, and I will never give up the hope that I will some day see her again.
Thank you for your support.
For the biggest day of AFL for the year, we held our annual Grand Final Day BBQ.
Liam, being one of the biggest Hawthorn fans you'll ever meet...
...decided it would be appopriate to decorate the house in memorabilia.
And this is BEFORE all the posters and banners went up.
EDIT: I wrote this post yesterday, scheduled to go live today, before the tragic discovery of Miss Meagher's body. I almost decided not to go ahead with posting this, and I hope you don't think it is in bad taste because that it my very last intention, but I decided that the horrible discovery only highlights more than ever how absolutely serious these cases are. When I found out the news this morning, I bawled my eyes out. I cried for Jill, I cried for my dear friend, I cried for those tragically lost and found under terrible circumstances, I cried for those never to be seen again, I cried for the families of victims and the families who would never get to discover the fate of their loved ones, and I will admit I cried for my own pain over the years. Please don't think I'm trying to take away from the tragedy that has happened; but there are so many more cases like this one, and they all deserve a voice too and there are so many families seeking resolution. RIP Jill Meagher. I didn't know you, but your story was very close to my heart, and I wished and hoped for your safety. I hope you're in a better place now, where no one can harm you ever again.
There has been a recent media frenzy lately about the disappearance of Jill Meagher. It's been so terrible hearing all of the news. All the attention, footage and investigations following the case will hopefully mean that they will be able to find more witnesses to help lead to her whereabouts, and she can be brought home safely soon.
I hope you don't think that I'm being opportunistic, but seeing this story played out through the news and social media has been a very personal reminder for me.
In the early hours of the 2nd of April, 2008 my dear friend Sally Sze Wan Cheong went missing from her home in Oakleigh South and has not been seen or heard from since. She was last seen in their family home around 3am by one of her sisters, and when she failed to turn up for work at the family business the next day, the alarm was raised.
She left the house somewhere between those times with her wallet, phone, iPod, car keys and a blanket that she had had since she was a baby... however, that is where the clues end. Her phone was switched off by noon, her credit cards and bank account remain untouched, and her car was still parked safely in its spot when I went to see the family shortly after her disappearance.
Sally was a gorgeous girl, with an infectious laugh, and the carest, kindest, most trusting nature. Perhaps a little too trusting. When we met in the first week of high school, she was a timid little soul but we connected and became firm friends. She wasn't a fan of public speaking, but would chatter away to me with ease, so I would be her voice during class when we were required to speak out loud. As time progressed, we added friends to our group and developed quite a social circle. Before I knew it, Sally would be the one to approach newcomers to the school and invite them to join us during lunch breaks. Over the years, she blossomed from that timid little girl I had first met into the most likeable social butterfly.
Sally was everyone's friend. You would be hard pressed to find a person who did not like her. Actually, scrap that. You just would not be able to; it was impossible. She was known for her love of cameras, and she would follow you around the hallways just hoping to snap a candid shot. We formed our own "family" at school, and she was my twin sister, and a better one I could not have asked for. I know this whole spiel sounds like something people say in hindsight, to not speak ill of those gone, but every single word of this is the truth. The only fault I can find with her is the fact that she was TOO good; too friendly and too caring, and since she was everyone's friend I had to share her time with a million others!
I suppose that's one of the things that could have been a downfall in the end and lead to her disappearance. She had so many friends and was so caring and trusting, and would try to help anyone in need, no questions asked. We can only assume she crossed paths with the wrong type of person, and would not have suspected a thing because she only ever saw the good in people.
Her family and friends still live in the hope that she is out there somewhere, and will some day eventually return home to us safely. So I guess this is the point of my post...
I'm asking if you could please keep your eyes and ears peeled.
This media attention for Jill Meagher means that every person in Melbourne is keeping a watchful eye, hoping to find clues to assist in the case. Please be on the look out for one more person, and perhaps help find an answer to our questions?
I know that four years is a very long time to be gone, but we're still hopeful, and every extra pair of eyes that are looking out for her helps our chances.
The worst thing about when someone goes missing like this is the uncertainty. Friends and family don't know whether to grieve, or remain positive and hopeful. There is no closure on the matter. We don't know whether she suffered, or whether she is still suffering. We don't know if we'll ever see her again, and we don't know what more there is that we can do to try and find her.
But what we do know is that we are hoping with ever fibre of our being that she is happy and safe, and that some day she will return home to us. That day, should it ever eventuate, will be the most joyous of occasions.
Sally, if you're out there, we still love you and miss you more than ever. All we want is for you to be back with us where you belong. You're never too far from my thoughts, and no matter how much time goes by I won't ever stop hoping I'll see your pretty face again. My biggest wish for you is that you're happy, and most importantly that you're safe. Please come home! xxxxxxxx
We had a rather eventful weekend, which resulted in two ambulances careening up our driveway at 5:30 in the morning to wheel away a rather sorry feeling patient.
We had a few friends over on Saturday who decided to bunk in for the night, after dinner and perhaps a few too many drinks. A few hours after we had all tucked ourselves into bed, my friend's fiance required a bathroom stop, but unfortunately in his half-asleep and possibly slightly still intoxicated state, forgot where he was and turned left instead of right at the bedroom door and proceeded to try and walk straight down the stair case. Unfortunately, attempting to walk down steps instead of actually stepping down them meant he ended up tumbling down the entire flight, hitting the bannister with such force that he somehow dislodged and dented it, and continued tumbling down until he landed face first into the tiled floor at the bottom.
I was woken up by the sound of my friend screaming in panic whilst her fiance was bleeding heavily from a massive gash in his neck. The sheer force of the fall meant that he split right through all layers, to the point where the jaw bone and other innards were visible.
Almost luckily, I had crawled into bed that night (or morning) minus any clothing, as I'd stored my pyjamas in the spare room upstairs were my friends were sleeping. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as if I had been fully clothed I would most likely to have been the first one out the door to see what the commotion was about. Instead, I roused Liam from his slumber (no mean feat!) and let him investigate.
Whilst he did this, I ran to the wardrobe to find some clothing while Liam was on the phone to emergency services. I could hear him describing the amount of blood all over the floors, and as I frantically fumbled around to find some pants, it dawned on me that the worst possible thing I could do for everyone would be to go out and try to "help". Let me put it this way - not long ago my mother ended up passing out and hitting her head on the side of the wall, face planting into the tiles giving herself a nice big black eye, all as a result of the sight of a little blood oozing from a small cut on her hand. We are NOTORIOUSLY bad at handling the sight of blood in my family, and the carnage at the bottom of my steps would almost certainly mean that there would be two people lying on the ground to take care of rather than one!
Thank God for Liam and his calm demeanour! He has seen enough blood in his lifetime that the sight that greeted him left him completely unphased. He was so great with it, as he calmly assessed the situation and tried to calm down my friends while they waited for the ambulance. Unfortunately all I could do was listen to it from the bedroom, but he handled it all with such ease and managed to stay level-headed. I was so proud of the way he looked after everyone, and kept everyone calm until the paramedics arrived!
Thankfully there was no permanent damage done. Numerous tests were done, and although surgery was required to mend the gigantic gash it should all heal up nicely save for some scarring. But as Liam says, chicks dig scars! :)
Anyway... now for the more mundane parts of my weekend! Friday night.
Plus this -
Liam cooked up this yummy paella for dinner. I have leftovers for lunch today, and I am so looking forward to it! I usually take care of all the cooking in our house because I love it, but I think from now on I'm going to make him cook for me once a week!
I didn't completely reounce my duties in the kitchen, however!
I baked a big batch of these scrummy choc-chip cookies to fill my cookie jar with! It was such an easy and tasty recipe that I decided to do a few batches and handed them out to my new neighbours and family. More to come on the cookies later!
Liam was absolutely ecstatic with a Hawthorn win this weekend, which means a Sydney vs Hawthorn Grand Final next week! We're holding a BBQ, and Liam has already started decorating the house in preparation...
I'm really looking forward to having some of our closest friends come over to watch what should be a riveting game next week! I only hope to rain will hold off... PLEASE Melbourne!
What are your plans for the big day next weekend? xx
Not because I had to be. I didn't have any pressing business to attend to, or anywhere I had to be. Liam left early for work, but I was free to laze around and have a mega sleep-in. But I didn't.
I didn't, because I couldn't breathe.
It's hard to breathe when you have this fatty lying across your body, compressing your lungs!
But with a face like that, it's hard to stay mad!
I decided to start my day with a long soak in the hot tub. I've been coming down with a fluey sort of cold, and the steaming hot water did wonders for my aching muscles!
We were having friends over on Saturday night, so I headed to the shops to pick up some supplies. While I was there, I decided it was time to get some fresh flowers to replace the drooping bunches that I bought last week. I managed to find these native buds for a mere $4! What a bargain.
I also picked up some gorgeous yellow lilies for the top of my step cabinet, but I forgot to take a photo. They look fabulous though! I've got a beautiful healthy looking stem which I picked out of last week's bunch sitting on the coffee table too. As I mentioned in my previous post, the natural lighting in the house is fabulous and that with the addition of fresh flowers scattered throughout the house it almost feels like you're outside enjoying the sunshine, from the comfort of my own living room!
Saturday night's activities involved copious amounts of alcohol, some oldschool Atari battles, and dancing around the back deck trying to learn the choreography from internet tutorials to Oppa Gangnam Style. If you haven't seen it yet (perhaps you've had your head buried in the sand?) you should YouTube it quick smart!
We ordered some Vietnamese take away from the restaurant around the corner, but beer, cider, red bull & vodka, and perfecting our Gangnam Style took precedence. Rocket didn't mind though, because it meant there were plenty of leftovers for his dinner the next day!
No where it my pet care manuals does it give me serving suggestions for noodles, so I made sure to cut them up into small pieces so he wouldn't choke on them. With the speed that he wolfed down his dinner, I can safely say that Rocket did not object to the way I served his dinner, and it appears he is partial to some egg wonton noodles, and combination beef pho!
The humans of the house however, had a spicy green chicken curry for sustenance.
My lovely mother text me early on Sunday to tell me that she had spent her morning in the kitchen whipping up a curry and spaghetti bolognaise for the week. She also kindly informed me that I could swing by at any point that day, and collect my serve of each. I do not object!
And before we know it, and all too quickly, yet another weekend is gone! Four and a half days until the next one... bring it ON!
I shall end this post with some words of wisdom, and the motto from my weekend.