May 2013Life Love and Hiccups: May 2013

Friday, 31 May 2013

I'm Turning 40 And I'm Running Away

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As you read this I am madly shoving things in my suitcase as I have decided to ramp up this midlife crisis a notch, and run away.

Technically Speaking, since I am taking the husband and kids with me, I should really call it a holiday, but in terms of a midlife crisis - Running Away sounds much better.

Sunday week I turn the big 40 and being the incredibly brave woman that I am, I'm putting on a smile, pulling up by big girl panties and doing the Harry Holt to Bali.

What?

Don't Judge me!

You see I have this vision of waking up on the morning of my birthday, packing up my little leather satchel (which I totally intend on buying in Bali) and heading off to the hills to have a Julie Roberts moment (aka Eat, Pray, Love) and ride a bike through the rice fields.

That is of course if I don't get distracted on my way past the pool by the brightly coloured drinks and little cocktail umbrellas.

Oh look, here's me enjoying one of those fancy shmancy drinks on my last holiday.


Again - QUIT judging me. I was a little bloated that day - big deal!

I am well aware my Midlife Crisis is taking on a bit of an extravagant theme. It was brought to my attention when I had a conversation with my husband Carl the other day.

He said "Shit Sonia, when I turned 40 I bought a stand up paddle board. You turn 40 and you quit your job, cut your hair off and book an overseas holiday. I'm too scared to ask what is next".

Hmmm I see his point.

The simple fact of the matter is, you really only get one proper shot at a Midlife Crisis, and although I am contemplating making this annual event, or at the very least drag this one out for the FULL year of being 40, I need to make the most of it and milk it for every wonderful insane moment.

Those dreams we speak off, they don't land in your lap. Well not in my lap anyway, so I have to go out there and chase them.

And yes (in case you are wondering) I am aware that considering I recently quit my job, I probably shouldn't be making such expensive decisions - but I figure life is too short to not grab those dreams by the proverbial and stamp my name all over them. You know, just in case anyway tries to steal them away from me.

I'm suspicious like that.

So while I am away living some of my dreams, I have some very special Guest posters lined up to share their own dreams with you. I'd love you to pop back on Monday and say hi to my first guest and show her some loving.

Now if you would excuse me, I have some mad last minute packing to finish and some house sitters to hide my vodka and gummi bears from.




Thursday, 30 May 2013

Things I left On The Birthing Table and Other Atrocities

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I thought about setting up my tripod to take a photo of myself as I re-enact a birthing scene. But thank God I came to my senses and decided to give you that picture instead.

So today I wanna chat to you, mother to mother, woman to woman, fellow potential psych ward roomie to roomie.

Remember that day you rocked up to the hospital to give birth, and you were hoping to receive the BIGGEST gift ever - a healthy baby?

*Nodding head* Yeah you remember right.

Have you ever stopped for a moment and spared a thought to what you actually left behind on the birthing table that day? You know, asides from your placenta and possibly bucket loads of your insides.

I do.

Frequently.

There is something, some event, some chaotic hair pulling moment in most days that remind me of EXACTLY what I handed over the day I gave birth to my first beautiful baby boy.

Take for example my sanity.

I emptied all pockets and hidden supplies to find every last skerrick and I just handed it all on over. I was naive, I had no idea what fate awaited my sanity, but I'm pretty sure it was thrown out in a Kidney dish along with my dignity and my ability to ever pee alone again.

When I sneeze, or laugh or God forbid run to the aid of an injured child, I am reminded that I checked my bladder control at the door of the birthing suite.

I gave up all entitlement of ever eating a meal to myself, drink a can of soft drink without backwash contribution, or consume a Mars Bar without having to cut it up into pieces that are measured precisely to each mm to ensure no one gets a bigger bite than anyone else.

I handed over restful nights in exchange for midnight visitors, monster duty and and toilet patrol.

I got a total bargain (NOT) in the looks department. I traded in a wrinkle free face and got TONS of worry lines, frown lines and grey hairs in return.

Oh and let's not forget that moment I bid a fond farewell to my flat stretch mark free stomach.

OK I lie, I gave up that stomach the moment I took my first sip of a Pina Colada.

Whatever.

I knew there was a catch when I received those Bounty Bags full of bum cream samples and nursing pads at my first sonogram.

Those companies marketing executives KNEW what we were pregnant woman were in for and so they were all "Oh those poor suckers, lets give them loads of free shit to take their mind of what they are giving up". And then they all stood around their coffee machines and had a good laugh at our expense because they also KNEW that by the time we were screaming to "GET IT OUT" and BEGGING for epidurals, we would HAVE no minds to even think about what we were giving up.

Don't get me wrong. I feel incredibly blessed in that I did get 3 beautiful healthy boys, but I am pretty sure I didn't sign up for the optional extras that came with them - like attitude, smelly feet and the ability to drown me in a single days worth of laundry.

What did you hand over at the Maternity check in - that was never to be seen again?
What Optional Extras did your kids come with?



Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A Fancy Pants Yellow Chalk Paint Dresser Makeover

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So just to really prove how totally obsessed I am with the colour yellow at the moment, I went a painted a dresser in my fave colour of the moment.

The dresser was a roadside find (yes thank you dear Husband - you did hit scavenging gold), and I had previously stripped off the old dark lacquer and taken it back to its original colour. I liked it, but I didn't LIKE like it as it was just a bit meh!

When I was sent a sample of some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Arles (yellow) to try out, I went hunting around the house for something to try it on, and whaddya know - this little baby was screaming for some paint loving.

This paint is seriously perfect for lazy asses like me. I had already done the hard yacka taking off the old lacquer, but I needn't had bothered cause this paint goes straight on to pretty much anything.

No I am not exaggerating even a little. 

Walls? Yep! 
Metal? You betcha! 
Kitchen Cabinets, floors, plastic and terracotta? Piece of cake!

3 coats of paint, 2 vodka cruisers, a pack of burger rings and a buffing of the Annie Sloan Soft Wax and this little beauty was done like a dinner.

And since I only used barely a quarter of the the 946ml tin, I have literally a bucket load to makeover anything else that isn't bolted down.

You likey? 

I likey!

Happy Home Book
Yellow Painted Dresser
Toga Birds

Yellow Dresser
Blue Genie Bottle


Here's a list of Annie Sloan Chalk paint stockists in Australia if you are keen to try it out for yourself.

Is there anything in your house screaming for some colour love?



Tuesday, 28 May 2013

I'm Being Interviewed Over At Rudy & The Dodo

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Hey there! I am over at Rudy and The Dodo being interviewed for their Meet a Mama series. 
I'd love you to come on over and say hello!





Top 10 Ways To Save Money Without Feeling Like I'm Are Missing Out

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Quitting my job was a serious Game Changer in the money stakes and now more than ever I need to Save Money and cut our families spending budget.

After years of earning a healthy monthly salary and not paying much attention to what I put in my trolley or online basket, I am now in a position where I have to watch every cent.

No, I mean like literally every cent.

Just for the record, I am so OK with that and if you asked me to make a choice between continuing on the career path I was on and making money OR spending time with my family and getting back to basics, I would be all "der no contest".

Creating priceless memories win hands down.

I do intend on contributing financially again, it's just going to take a little time to turn my ideas in moolah and in the meantime I have to make sure that I am only spending within our means. And considering that carelessly throwing my credit card at inane household objects I spy in stores, is not considered within our means, its time for me to grow up and start being responsible when it comes to spending money.

Before I made the leap of faith and handed in my 'I wont be at work on Monday' letter, I sat down and looked at ways I can potentially save our family money.

I was tempted to write down - Lock me and my children in a room with no computer, no phone, no credit card and no way to send smoke signals to retailers - and leave it at that, but the shit I'm nearly forty sensible side got the better of me and I actually got serious for a moment about how we can save money in our family.

I came up with a list of nearly 50 ways we could cut costs, and then I sat there and felt totally overwhelmed for a little while. I realised that whilst I need to drastically reduce our families spending, I need to do it in a realistic and achievable way.

So I narrowed the list down to 10 ways we can save money, small changes that can make a big difference - like potentially over $25,000.00 a year difference, and not feel like we are going completely without.



1. Create a Budget and Don't Carry my Credit Card With Me. 

Um yeah - that goes without saying. If we haven't budgeted for something then we just can't buy it. Simple as that.

The money I have put on my credit card in the past 12 months makes me feel physically sick. I could cut it up, but since you and I both know that's not going to happen then I just need to make sure I remove all temptation by not taking it out with me. I worked out that my weekly impulse buys were costing close to $5k a year (and that is being light on).

Even if I allow myself a few splurges every now and then, I can cut out at least $4k of meaningless spend.

Holy Crap!
***Estimated Savings per year $4000.00***

2. Slash Our Electricity Usage.

By turning off lights when we leave the room, switching off appliances at the wall, using cold water for washing, washing in off peak periods and not using the clothes dryer unless it is absolutely necessary, I worked out I can reduce our electricity bill by at least 30%

I have been totally lazy when it comes to all of the above and I hate to think how much my laziness has cost us.

I was going to try and figure out EXACTLY how much we could save by doing this, but I got distracted by a really awesome new reality show (Newlyweds) so I never got around to actually doing the numbers. But with energy costs so high it doesn't take Einstein to work out that we could potentially save bucket loads a year by flicking those switches. If I reduced our energy bill by 30% on a $850 a quarter bill, its totally worth the extra effort it takes to flick off switches and nag the kids.
***Estimated Savings per year $1008.00***

3. Pack Lunches When We Go Out on Weekends

5 people at an average of $8 bucks per lunch, times say once per weekend by 52 weeks. That is freaking $2080 per year. Enough said.
***Estimated Savings per year $2080.00***

4. Cut back on Cable TV Packages 

By removing the channels we don't really watch on Foxtel and locking ourselves into another 24 month contract, I saved a whopping $36 bucks a month. For The Win!!
***Estimated Savings per year $432.00***

5. Buy Bulk Fruit and Veggies

We go through tons of fruit an veg in this house and spend at least $100 bucks a week on them. If we pool together with some friends and buy direct from the markets or growers (in bulk) and then share it out, apparently we can save up to 40% off our weekly fruit and veg bill.
***Estimated Savings $2080.00***

6. Don't Buy Takeaway. 

By doubling the ingredients of a meal once a week and freezing the leftovers, we give ourselves a night off from cooking. The main reason we buy takeaway in our house is to either have a night off cooking or grab a quick meal when kids sport activities keep us out late. Cutting out $50 bucks a week on takeaway means an extra $2600 in the bank every year thank you very much. Sold - hand me a an apron and a saucepan, I'm gonna get cooking!
***Estimated Savings per year $2600.00***

7. Colour my Hair at Home.

6 salon visits a year at $180 a pop = $1170 a year. 6 packets of hair dye brought on special at $14 bucks each = $84 a year. Total savings - $1086. Score!
***Estimated Savings per year $1086.00***

8. Make our own Takeaway Coffee

By making my coffee at home and taking it with me in a flask we can save $1820 a year by not buying coffee from coffee shops. And that is after I take out the cost of buying and making the coffee ourselves.
***Estimated Savings per year $1820.00***

9. Meal plan and Shopping List

This had proven to be a HUGE money saver for us. When I set a weekly meal plan and only buy what we need to make those meals, we eliminate 90% of our food wastage and save bucket loads on our weekly grocery shop.

I have been buying in bulk and dispensing snack items into smaller containers for kids lunches, buying staples in bulk and putting them in jars and buying home brands rather than top shelf labels.

Our weekly grocery bill went from $350 a week to $190 - $200. That is a savings of $7800 per year, not including what we save by not wasting food.
***Estimated Savings per year - $7800.00***

10. A No Spend Weekend Challenge

I have decided to set a Weekend Challenge where the kids have to come up with an idea once a week of something that we can go and do as a family that wont cost a cent.

The kids loved the concept and some of the ideas they came up with were; explore a suburb on bikes, skateboards and scooters, picnic somewhere we have never been before, take advantage of free activities and shows put on by Sydney City and local councils, Footy in the park, make a movie.

We used to spend on average between $50 - $100 per weekend on family outings and activities. If we saved even $50 a week that would amount to $2600 a year. That could go a long way towards a family holiday.
***Estimated Savings per year $2600.00***

Holy Moses if my calculations are correct I could potentially save our family $25,506.00 a year by making these small changes. If you add all the other ways I can save money by making gifts, buying Christmas gifts and clothes only during sales, bargaining on key household purchases, checking out gas cars as an alternative to petrol, along with a zillion other potential money saving ideas - just imagine how much I could save.

To say I am excited by this challenge and the money saving potential, would be an understatement but I am realistic too and know I am going to need to really focus and stick to this plan. The pay off is not just the money we will save, it's the fact that it makes the whole Mid Life Crisis / Throwing in my job thing - a little less scary.

What other ways do you save money in your house?
Where else could I reduce the spend?


A Sunny Home Office Makeover

Monday, 27 May 2013

A Sunny Home Office Makeover

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So having officially resigned from my job (holy Crap!!) meant that I spent a good part of last week packing up my home office and returning all of the office paraphernalia, computers, faxes etc that belong to my ex employer.

Once everything was picked up and gone, I was left standing in the middle of a room that look so naked, yet at the same time so damn exciting.

Who would have thought a naked home office would totally do it for me?

Although I only renovated this room last year, I cant help but feel like it deserves a bit of a celebratory foofing. This is after all going to be the room where I hope to bring many of my dreams to life.

I have this infatuation with yellow that has been lingering for a while now.

Usually I shake colour infatuations off pretty quickly, but yellow is simply refusing to pack up and leave, and I am kinda OK with that.

Since yellow is a colour of warmth and creativity, I have decided to let it move into my office space and make itself completely at home.

This is how my office looks today.

Grey Home Office 1

Grey Home Office 2

Shell Windchime
Meal Planninf


Grey Home Office 3 
Grey Home Office 5

I still love it and I find the grey so soothing and grounding. But don't you think a few yellow props and accessories amid the grey, would really bring it alive?

Yellow Office Accessories



I don't want to go completely overboard and make it look like someone has come in and spewed a big bucket of yellow paint everywhere. Maybe just some yellow fabric curtains and a few accessories to satisfy my colour crush. 

Oh and since I am no longer employed, I'm going to have to do this room foofing on a very limited budget.

Geez, I'm getting all hot and flustered with excitement now - over a flipping room!

So what do you think of a yellow and Grey combo? 
Have you spied any yellow fabric or office accessories that are budget friendly?

Home Office



Saturday, 25 May 2013

Hello Whacko - Be Happy!

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Every week I get my grubby little paws on some flowers and I give them to myself from myself.

Cause I'm really kind and generous  like that.

It doesn't matter if they are a bunch of flowers I have stolen from a park or *ahem* neighbours garden or if they are just a cheapie bunch from Coles or Woolies. I  simply whack those little suckers in some vases and spread them around the house and BAM - those little pots of colour make me smile every time I see them.

When I brought myself some yellow roses on special from the grocers today, the woman behind the counter asked me if they were for someone special.

"Yep, sure are! They are for me" I stated with an over enthusiastic wink.

She tipped her head sideways and looked at me, and I could almost see the thought bubble forming above her head.

I'm pretty sure she was thinking "Yeahhhhh, Good on you Whacko".

And even though I didn't feel like I owed her an explanation, I gave her one anyway.

"They are to remind me to Be Happy" I said.

And being the moron that I am, I kissed the bunch of flowers in front of her and said "Hellllooooo Happy Roses".

Then I left the store, before she had a chance to call the Psych ward.

Do you give yourself flowers? Do you need an excuse or a reason? 
If so what would your reason for giving yourself some flowers today?





Friday, 24 May 2013

When Death Takes Over Our Remote Controls

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I have a number of TV shows that I am almost religiously faithful to.

I get attached to the characters from the comfort of my flannie bed sheets and I care about them like they are part of my extended family.

Yes I get that attached.

I get mad when their bitchy frenemies expose their secrets on reunion shows, I shout at the TV screen when I know they are being spied on by a hidden camera and they just cant see it, and I get my huffy on and refuse to look at a character when he has been caught with his pants down playing deli shop with another woman.

Yes I'm that passionate about them.

I bust my guts to get the dinner done and dusted and the kitchen tidied. To make sure lunches are packed in the fridge ready for the next day and I even start the kid's bedtimes an extra 30 minutes early so that I can chase the little buggers back to their rooms the 50 or so necessary times - ALL before my shows start.

Revenge, The Real Housewives (of Frigging everywhere these days), Offspring, The Block and Househusbands. They are my poison of choice for a night of watching TV. Just me and them, and my snuggly blanket, fluffy slippers, bowl of popcorn, remote control and two furry sidekicks.

My husband is noticeably absent because he can't stand these shows and prefers to fold mountains of laundry whilst watching surfing videos and eating frozen red frogs.

Bless him.

These shows give me a little escape from my everyday. I can forget about who is not talking to who in my family, lost sports sneakers, friends that are going through divorces, financial worries and battles with our tradies and for just a little while I can watch someone else deal with all of that crap.

It's escapism, in all it's glory.

I want to be inspired to rebuild a derelict house, open a gym and my own wine label. Feel an urge to save the world from the deadly Initiative and walk the streets of Melbourne talking to voices in my head whilst wearing gorgeous to die for outfits.

I don't want to see someone I have become attached to, a mothers of 3 little kids, a wife of one very hunky husband that she has just been reunited with, bowled over by a car whilst she is looking for a washing machine at night on the side of the road in a drop dead (pardon the pun) gorgeous dress.

Come on!

Really?

Why do they have to kill the characters off?

I get it, actors get tired of roles and want to move on, maybe even trot off to LA for bigger and better things. But can't the script writers just send them of trekking through Zimbabwe or have them run away with their kids speech pathologist to the Maldives?

Why kill them and make me bawl my eyes out for the next few weeks watching the grief unfold with their families and their children crying for their mummy.

I have nightmares about this kind of stuff happening to me in real life. I cry real tears for friends who really have lost loved ones and ache for children I actually know who have cruelly had their mother taken away from them.

Maybe I am being totally naive about this and maybe I need to just shut up and go back to my flannie sheets and my remote control and get over it, but honestly I really don't want to watch death and grief in a make believe world too.

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Am I being naive? 
Do you feel the same way too? 
Do you want death in your favourite shows?
Did you bawl your eyes out when all the husbands stood together on Justin's porch waiting for the door to open and tell their friend his wife was never coming home? 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

In My Blog Reader - Food Glorious Food

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There is nothing I love more than putting a delicious meal in my belly. 

Those meals where you sit there poshly cutting up the pieces really small, just so you can make them last and then you lick the plate when no one is looking so that you get every last bit of the sauce. Man now I have a serious craving for scallops with garlic cream sauce...

Whilst I love those kinds of meals, I've never really had the time, the desire or *ahem* the ability to create them myself and for that reason I have never really been overly interested in foodie blogs. 

But now that I am right at the beginning of my midlife crisis quit my job and have more time on my hands phase, I have a sudden urge to rediscover my inner Nigella.

And so I have discovered foodie blogs and all their delicious images that make me dribble like a teething toddler all over my computer and iPad. I am even enjoying wandering through the grocers picking things up and smelling them and pretending like I have half a clue what the bloody things are called or how the hell you cook them.

I have however come to the conclusion that I like looking at food blogs more than I like actually recreating the food, but then again with a little practise who knows? 

In the meantime these blogs inspire me to make a cheese toasty look like a masterpiece and my family are enjoying eating meals that have been styled to the last inch.

Here are some of the Food Blogs I am drooling over in my reader at the moment. Just click on the titles or the images to go to the blogs.

84th &3rd


















Here are the other Categories from the 'In My Blog Reader' series that I have covered so far;

And you can find even more gorgeous blogs by checking out my Blog Roll on the sidebar, which is getting so big I am going to have to give it it's own page soon.

Alright my ass an my appetite are going to hate you, but I have to ask anyway - do you know of any tasty food blogs I should know about?




A Weekend In The Big Smoke
The Gift I Received at Kidspot Voices
The Things I am Really Good at Sucking At