Speaking Of My Balcony

I went to test out the new lens and have a few pics for you.

My new lavender plant, which I have had for maybe three weeks and it has taken off like a rocket. Does anyone know, if you want to cut off the older lavender heads is there a certain place you should snip them?


My wisteria – it is a pink version called “summer wisteria”. I’ve had it for almost a year now. I love it!


My new herb garden which seems to be quickly outgrowing the pot it was put into – I did not expect it to take off quite so much. There is basil, italian flat parsley, chives and a capsicum tree. It smells incredible and I have used the herbs in my cooking twice now. Right behind it you can see one of my two tomato plants which I surrounded with chives because I got an 8 pack seedling tray. Both the chives and the tomato plant have doubled in size in just over a week!


The second tomato plant. Both tomato plants are already flowering, I think this is a good sign? I have been inspired by some fellow bloggers who have been growing their own foods. I decided to plant herbs and tomatoes but now I have a stack of pots without anything in them, so I may expand my new hobby. ;)


My dwarf fuchsia which has been repotted and is very happy by the look of things.

We have re-potted maybe 75% of our plants and we have gone through 6 bags of potting mix! We still need to get a few more pots and potting mix to finish the job. I go out every night and water the plants just before I cook dinner. It is such a peaceful time for me. It is just starting to get dark, I can smell the sea breeze drifting my way and the stars start appearing – and you can see them so clearly here without all the big city lights.

Tonight I am going to give them a good dose of fertilizer when I water them. They always enjoy that. The plants seem as happy by the change in location as we are. All the plants have new growth and the ones that can flower have buds all over the place. They get the morning and mid-day sun and miss out on that painful afternoon sun, which makes them happy I think.

Just so I know, do you prefer thumbnail pics so the page can load faster and then you can click on the ones you would like to view closer? Let me know in the comments..

garden, Home, move to the beach

A House Warming Party

So we’ve been in the new house for just over a month now. Before we moved we talked about having a house warming – we agreed that we would like to have one.

Party planning can be a real headache. I’ve planned a lot of parties in my lifetime without checklists, without any kind of organisation, without much thought. Something always goes wrong. Now if it were just me, I’d be fine with it – but when it is a party I’ve invited people along so when things go wrong I tend to panic. Seriously.

In fact during our last dinner party – the first time we had my parents to the new house to eat, The Other Half said “We’re never doing this again” because he saw me freaking out. I was trying to do about 6 things at once. I think if I had a plan I would have a better chance of getting through it without those moments of panic.

So what kind of party am I going to have? I like something fairly informal, something that involves the barbecue, and we now have this fantastic balcony – check it out!



I think we’ll move all the plants to the further end away from the BBQ just for the night to create more room. The balcony is private and not overlooked at all. We’ve been repotting a lot of the plants over the last couple of weeks so it is a little messy. We still have some work to do out there. Even so the balcony has quickly become one of my favourite spaces and my office window looks out onto it. I can’t wait to have a party out there on a nice warm night. ;)

There’s two weekends we can have the party on before the end of the year but one of them is only 2 weeks away so it might end up being in early December, but then everyone is doing holiday season things. We might leave it till January. I’ll talk it over with the other half.

move to the beach

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

This week has been the hardest week for me. Once we got everything moved in here, I found myself just wanting to space out for a bit, watch a movie, have a rest. I’d been working so hard for so long without one day off. This was made even worse by the fact that two appliances we had ordered – our new Miele dishwasher and condenser dryer – had not arrived.

I had a little benchtop dishwasher which is half the size of a normal one, and I was trying to keep on top of the dishes as well as trying to clean the dishes unpacked from very inky newspaper. Note to ya’all – newspaper is not good for packing these days due to the amount of full color ads. My dishes were utterly filthy when I unpacked them. What was once white was now.. multicolored and ink stained. One advertiser had full page orange ads, which gave me fully orange plates!

I was washing all the clothes – then lugging them all downstairs to be dried in our old 4.5kg sensor dryer – then lugging them back upstairs to hang them up and iron them. The amount of lint that thing creates is incredible. We had to put it in the garage at the old house because there was no vent in the laundry. When we moved here we knew there was no vent so we made the decision to finally buy what we’d wanted for so long – a condenser dryer.

The new condenser dryer does not create anywhere near as much lint, and the even better news? You can reclaim the water from your washed clothes to water the plants. My first load in there which has just finished drying gave me back 2 litres of water, which I put on the lemon tree. That load had been washed at the high spin speed because when I put it on we didn’t know the appliances had arrived. On Saturday I’ll put some pics online of the appliances and reclaiming the water for those interested.

What all this has meant is, I have been so busy doing chores, unpacking, cooking, washing, drying, dishwashing, ironing and spacing out.. the amount of exercise I have been getting each day, even on the two days I took a bit of a break and watched a movie, is a lot more than I am used to. I have been falling into bed by 11:30pm and waking up every morning just before 7am. I am sleeping much better.

This week I saw The Sentinel with Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland – it was wonderful, I really enjoyed it. I bought In The Line Of Fire with Clint Eastwood because it was less than $10 and it was always a great movie – and it has a commentary track, so I was sold. Both of these were movies which involved the Secret Service and the President.

I also saw The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock which I spent half the movie trying to work out where it was going and when it finally dawned on me it hit me like a tonne of bricks – warning ladies, have your tissues handy! And Keanu looks HOT. And acts like someone with more than half a brain, which is hugely attractive for a change!

Now that the appliances have arrived, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will be able to finish all the chores over the next 3 days or so, and then I can get started on my daily beach walks. We’re working on a menu plan, and I have cooked dinner every night this week. Plus I made a cake! ;)

I am so ready to fall into bed tonight because I helped the other half carry those two really heavy appliances up the stairs, plus I had a full day of chores and grocery shopping on top of that!

Tomorrow I will be starting a new feature here on the blog, so look forward to that. ;)

electrical appliances, move to the beach, movies

The Kitties Are Settled In Now.

Warning, cute kitty photos ahead! After a few days of panic, hiding under the bed anytime they heard a noise, and treading cautiously around the house, the kitties are now happily queens of their domain. No longer scared and hiding, but exploring, napping and relaxing. As you see.


The Big Kitty checking out the view.

Interestingly there have been some changes with the Big Kitty’s behaviour. She is now growling like a dog. The Little Kitty has done this since she first arrived at our house, and it seems the Big Kitty thought it was a good idea. Also the big kitty is thrilled to have her stairs back!


The Not So Little Kitty.

This is the first time the little kitty has ever had stairs, and she’s not too sure about it. She cautiously walks down one at a time with a scared look on her face. I’m sure she’ll get used to them soon – and they might be good exercise for her seeing as she is getting a little.. rotund. Yes, that is her belly hanging through the hole in the kitty tower!

kitties, move to the beach

Excuse Me While Things Get Crazy.

Just when I thought I could happily settle in to the new place, I remembered I have to go back and clean the old place. I haven’t replied to any comments since I think Friday last week, I’m sorry everyone but it will have to wait till I get home today or maybe even later in the week depending on how tired I am after all that cleaning.

I am hopeful I can complete the cleaning today thus giving me the rest of the week to start on unpacking here. However the Tuesday Think Tank will be posted later today. ;)

move to the beach

Dolphins, Pink Water, High Tide.

Last night The Other Half and I went for our very first beach walk together. The sun was setting, the sky was pink and so was the water. As we walked along the beach we saw dolphins swimming not very far off the beach. I did not have the camera, I apologise. I will make sure to take it next time.

We’re all moved in now, the truck with the very last of our stuff – the heavy things – just unloaded everything and left.

The Kitties are doing a freak out. We brought them here late Saturday night, when we’d moved so much of our stuff here we didn’t feel ok about sleeping at the old house. We slept on an air mattress. The kitties did not sleep, they spent the night wandering the house and jumping at every sound. T

They have started to settle down a bit and by Sunday night they were getting quite brave and jumping onto the window sills to look out. Now we don’t have any more moving of big stuff to do, they will settle even more.

I’ve been offline since Saturday Morning, so big thanks to Sephy for posting the thought of the day and the other posts which I’d pre-written, and also for adding a couple of things into my weekly wrap up as I ran out of time (here on the blog and past Snoskred was all Sephy’s own work this week, well done mate!).

I might go get something to eat, the local paper and then find a beach to stroll along. ;) Then back here to read what ya’all have been up to while I’ve been moving!

I don’t think it has really sunk in yet that we have moved, as insane as that may sound. I’ve been so busy doing I’ve had no time for thinking. ;)

move to the beach

A Moving Update With Pics!

Sometime within the next day or so, I will hit 50,000 visits here at the blog. Yay! With only 2 days before we pick up the keys this coming Monday, most of the packing is done. I really only have the kitchen which is half done and our walk in wardrobe left to do, which I can mostly finish before we pick up the keys. It didn’t seem to take as long as I was expecting, and I’ve had time to do other things this week as well which I do appreciate – and some of you might too, because I’ve been commenting when I’ve had the chance.


Above is how my bookshelves look now. I can’t bear to pack my Aromatherapy stuff until the last minute, and I’ve been burning oils and incense every day this week. Click any of these pics for a slightly bigger image.


This is how my desk currently looks. It’s a lot messier than I like and I can’t wait to get into the new place with new ways of organising things like pens and stationery – I have plans for how I’m going to do it.


Above you see my daily checklist, which I have been sticking to and finding really helpful especially in the midst of apparent chaos. I’ve been trying to do the reply to comments daily this week and I’d have to go back and check but I believe I have achieved it the next day after a post is posted. I used to find I’d put that job off and tend to do it twice a week or so. If it doesn’t get done the tick doesn’t get put there until it does get done, to remind me.


The Art/Dining room was the first room we completely emptied, and we have now filled it with packed boxes and furniture ready to be moved.


Here is a view of the art/dining room from another angle and you can see my favourite cabinet, the tall red one with glass. I think this was the best bargain we ever bought, it was just over $100AUD at an import clearance of furniture from Bali. There’s a smaller one which matches it, which we had bought in a different state at least a year before, you can see it in the previous photo under the lightning picture. We were lucky to find these!


This is a photo of the kitchen/pool table room. The pool table is the first thing to be moved, it is costing us an absolute fortune because it has to go upstairs. Please cross your fingers that they can actually manage to get it up the stairs. :) You can also see our outdoor setting, which all needs washing off before we move it, and the lanterns in the gardens are ours as well, they’re going to need a good spray with spider spray. At our new place, we are “borrowing” my parents water feature because they can’t use it where they are now. ;) It’ll look great on our balcony.


Here you can see my packing area. This is where anything glass, ceramic, or generally breakable gets packed.


This is the other part of the packing station and let us state for the record, I am a genius. :) It was my idea to put sticky tape on the clothes horse like this. It saves you time and a lot of grief from trying to wrap something and then cut tape. ;)


This is many of my sentimental much loved knick knacks, which take a lot of time and effort to pack. The ceramic castle I made myself, when I used to do ceramics as a hobby – I also did that lovely green candlestick holder, which is going to have pride of place on my dining table – which will be used for *dining* in the new place *shock* *boggle* *awe* rather than art. The dragon you can see the back of with the big copper wings, The Other Half did that himself at Ceramics. We used to do it together once a week. No, it’s not girly! It’s creative art!


Nothing you see here cost over $10AUD. I love collecting glass and you can probably tell blue glass is my favourite. The tall red and black thing is actually fortune telling sticks which my parents brought back from Japan many years ago. I love them. Some of these items, though inexpensive, are my most treasured things.


Another empty room, Yay!


A not so empty room – this is The Other Half’s office. He is refusing to pack it till the last minute. Can you tell this is somewhat.. annoying to me? I mean sure, leave the computer there, but the little stuff which he’s not going to use, surely he can pack?

Today three potential tenants toured this house, including a family with two kids, said kids were amazing. The younger one was wearing a superman outfit and he was getting excited about each room of the house. They mentioned they would be putting in an application and I am very hopeful they are the ones to get it. ;)

Thanks to all my regular readers for hanging in there with me during this time of upheaval and chaos, but I am hopeful it’s going to be worth it in the end – for me because I’ll be walking every day and attempting a healthier lifestyle – and some menu planning, and for you because you’ll get a lot more beautiful photos, and more community orientated kinds of tales. I do intend to become involved in the community down there, getting out and meeting new people and being a part of things. I may even begin selling my art at the markets from time to time.

So, it’s not much longer now. I will be around a bit during the week but there will be at least one day I will be at the new house cleaning for most of the day.

move to the beach, moving on

Great Service – Do You Let People Know? A Challenge For You.

When we humans receive good service, we rarely compliment. When we love a product and it is something we use daily, we do not write to the company and tell them how much we love their product. We must make more of an effort to give bouquets of words to people who look after us or manufacture things which make our lives easier and better.

We no longer have an excuse not to do it. Back in the days when you had to use a typewriter or handwrite things, I can understand it took a bit of effort. Most companies have email or websites with contact forms. In the time you can leave a comment on a blog, you can send a compliment to a company. If you love a product you might want to let the company know just how much you love it – or they might stop making it!

It only takes a moment to send a quick email and I challenge you to send one (or more!) today. What would you write? Feel free to copy and paste this and modify it to suit. ;)

Dear (company),

I love (product!) I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy (using it, eating it, drinking it, etc). (if you want to insert something about how you use the product or why it is useful to you, put that here) Keep up the great work!


When we get bad service, most of us complain about it. If we do not complain to the company involved, we will complain to friends, family, even people we don’t know very well but happen to mention to us they are looking for what that company provides. We’ll say “Don’t go to (company) because (info about negative experience)”.

In both cases it is very important to let the company know how their staff are doing. They might have no idea a staff member is constantly leaving customers with a bad taste in their mouths and a dislike for their company. They might not know just how good a job one of their staff is doing in providing good service.

This new place we are moving to, we almost did not get to look at it. We arranged the time to visit the property. I was already daydreaming about BBQ’s on the balcony, sea breezes, beach walks. Yes, I know I said I was going to try not to do that anymore, but I couldn’t help it. I had asked about the cats and the property manager said they would find out if pets were allowed. Just a short time later I got this email –

I have just spoken to (one of the other employees) and he advises that there are strictly no pets at the property. I’m sorry – was there anything else that you were interested in?

Note the excellent last line there, that’s great customer service! Other people might have left it at just the one sentence. Because of that sentence, I replied with more info on what we needed in a property – I had already left details with one of their offices but not the one she worked at, they have two offices here in different coastal towns.

I replied re the cats –

That’s very shortsighted of the landlords, I must say. :( We’re good long term tenants! What if we agreed to put in the lease if our pets did any damage we could pay for it? But realistically that is exactly what they have a security bond for, so..

And that’s where I thought it would end and I was once again feeling a little heartbroken .. but this property manager is very good at her job. The next day I got this email –

I have forwarded your email on to (other employee) – he listed these properties. He has advised me that he will look into your request today. If it is a ruling of the Body Corporate then I don’t think there is much we can do.If not we may still stand a chance. I will keep you informed of the outcome.

And later that day –

I have just heard back from (other employee) and he has advised that the cats will be OK. So do you wish to keep our appointment for Friday afternoon?

Damn right I do! ;) And so we did take a look, though it was with another employee of the company as the property manager was very busy and it was lovely. We put in our application and waited to hear. On Tuesday, a day earlier than we expected, they let us know we were approved.

When we finally got to meet the lady who was responsible for making our dream come true, I thanked her enthusiastically for her efforts, especially re the cats. She is a fellow cat lover, and understood how important it was to us. I’m already putting together a letter to the manager of her company praising her and her service. I’d like to send it before we even get the keys, she made such a great impression on me.

I shall not be leaving bouquets for the current property manager. I wrote about how she may have been leaving the house rolled up in a carpet when she messed me about with inspections back in December. It’s now August and we have not had an inspection since – eight months. I bet the landlord is thrilled – actually I bet he does not know.

When we first moved in here, three things were wrong with the place. We wanted the landlord to put in screen doors so we could open the doors and get a breeze. We NEEDED a vent put into the laundry for the dryer. A light is badly wired – to the point it could potentially cause a fire.

We attended the real estate office and put in a form. We have asked on several occasions re those things. A year and a half later, all we’ve had is excuses and “I’m waiting to hear back from the landlord” – I strongly suspect they have not even bothered to ask. We did expect that the issue which could cause actual damage to the property might be taken care of, but apparently not.

Thus we have been unable to open any of the doors to get a breeze through the house, we had to put the dryer in the garage because it was making such a mess with fluff in the laundry, and we have one light which we cannot use at all.

We became people who just did the things we wanted instead of asking them because we could not get any answers – we installed an air conditioner without their knowledge. We found ourselves in a bad relationship when we’d been so lucky in the past with our landlords.

I am looking forward to getting out of this place so I can write a letter to the manager of the real estate company and tell them how utterly disgusted I am with their service – and that I would never rent from them again, I’ll be advising anyone I know never to rent with them, and as far as buying a house? NO WAY. If it were perfect and had everything we wanted, we would not touch it if their name was on it.

I thought I would share a couple of pics of the new place with you today. I did not take these myself, sorry for the not brilliant quality.


I’m in major overdrive mode here at the moment – I have been replying to comments like a demon today so if you left one (River in particular – please send me your email address!) remember to check back and see my reply to it. :)

I’d like to ask my readers to please forgive me if I’m not replying to comments you’ve made over the next couple of weeks. I am going to try and do it as much as I can but things will be crazy. I will still be reading them and appreciating them just as much as I always do, but I have boxes to pack as well.. ;)

If this post did inspire you to compliment a company for their good customer service, let a company know about bad customer service or write an email about a product you love, please comment and let me know! ;)

customer feedback, move to the beach, renting

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours..

So we’re going from a house back to a “townhouse” when we move. We only have neighbours on one side. The rent on these townhouses is not cheap, they are considered executive so hopefully we will not end up with neighbours like..

Plympton, Adelaide – we were the middle townhouse in a block of 7. On one side we had an elderly lady who owned her townhouse, who was lovely and very quiet and cooked the most amazing smelling food but on the *other* side we had the teenagers just moving out of home for the first time. Loud music, parties every weekend, cars coming and going..

Seaton, Adelaide – we lived in a block of 20+ townhouses on a main road. The road was a terrible neighbour but we got used to it pretty quick. Again with the quiet people on one side, noisy on the other. The noisy were a group of young lads who used to sing along to their music and we got to enjoy it, NOT.

It was in Seaton that I woke up one morning to hear The Other Half on the telephone while Iron Maiden played so clearly and loudly I thought it was in *our* house. At 4:30am. I thought I must be dreaming because The Other Half had called the Police (not the band, the law enforcement types) on a neighbour for the first time ever waking up to that racket.

You know it is bad when The Other Half voluntarily calls the Police – he suffers from what we in the call centre industry named “call reluctance” – a complete inability to make a phone call. He will tolerate pretty much anything – and tell me to call if he can’t handle the noise.

Woodville, Adelaide – We lived in a villa which was attached to the villa next door. I remember Easter Weekend 2005. It was bizarre. Jesus Christ Superstar played at very high volume. I had to hide the Metallica so The Other Half would not scare the neighbours into moving out on the spot.

South Coast, NSW – I’ve spoken before about the noisy neighbours, the barking dog, the screaming kids across the road etc. However last night we had a new adventure. I woke up at 5am to the sound of the car across the road. When I looked outside suspicious goings on were.. well. going on. Cars were being reversed into the driveway. I swore I saw the man across the road carrying what looked to be an upside down tree. He was holding it by the trunk. I figured I might be hallucinating and went back to bed.

This morning, the neighbours across the road have double the amount of plants in their garden. Given all the driving that was going on, I can’t be sure they didn’t steal it from somewhere. Why else would anyone choose to plant things at 5am – in the RAIN? I am not joking!

I will admit, I had just finished an Agatha Christie novel before bed, the other thought was that they’d murdered someone and had to reverse their car in to load a body into the boot. Yes I agree, no more murder mysteries before bedtime. ;)

So today we went to take measurements and the electricity was on and I’m crazy about this place. We get the keys on the 3rd of September. We also measured the distance from the house to the beach – 1km. We’re the first people to live in it. Ever.

We took my Mother, who wasn’t too impressed with the idea of us moving until she saw the place, and now she’s on board. She keeps saying it is very far away – it is 19kms from where we are now. Pretty close by in Australian terms, and we did used to live 1600kms drive from her, and being down the street hasn’t inspired her to walk down here very much so I’m not sure what she’s on about. We’ll probably see more of them when we move! ;)

So for those of you new to the blog who don’t know, today marks the end of three months of searching for this place to move to in our dream location. Some previous posts with photos –

Beach Walk(s) With Photos
My Heart Is Broken – With Pics

This has been a Hump Day Hmmm post – the topic this week is being good neighbors in the world. Please join in, if you feel like you have something to say on this topic. ;)

move to the beach, noise, renting

Living On The Edge.

Finally we found a place we love and want to move into in my dream location. I really hope we get approved for it, but we won’t know until Wednesday next week. It’s about 10 minutes walk from the beach, it’s well soundproofed. The garage doesn’t have a silly post in the middle like this house which makes me happier about parking the car, and I can’t reverse the car out of the garage in this house..

The place is a little smaller in some ways, we’re losing a bedroom and a bathroom. But we’ve never really needed two bathrooms anyway, and the extra bedroom is currently full of The Other Half’s hoarded junk.

It is amazing considering the last time we moved I made him chuck out heaps of junk because we had to pay a lot more to move it interstate. But he’s collected another bunch of it. I may be a digital packrat, but he is a junk packrat.

There’s something I never mentioned to you guys about this house we’re in now. We moved in here in February of 2006, and ever since we have been receiving mail for the previous tenants. It gets old fast. Really old. We would collect it up and once a month mark it all return to sender and put it in the post box. However it still keeps turning up, a year and six months later.

Then, we started to see some strange mail. We don’t open it, but you know those envelopes you can see through? A letter came from the council about their dogs not being registered and that they would be fined. Then we started to get letters from companies chasing them for money. Being the intuitive person that I am – and also able to foresee events coming to me as a surprise from time to time, I said to the other half – next there will be bailiffs knocking on the door.

That finally happened a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t here but they left a note wanting to talk to us about repossessing our motorbike. We don’t have a motorbike. I rang the guy and explained they didn’t live here, and we then called the rental company, who as usual were absolutely useless and wouldn’t lift a finger to help us. So, we turned to the internet.

It is amazing what you can find out about people just by knowing their name. Our previous tenants own a pharmacy here in town. It’s not the one we use, thankfully. I say that because I spent an entire WEEK cleaning this house before we moved into it. The real estate agents idea of clean and my idea of clean are two different things – it’s not that I was being a clean freak, it is that the house was utterly filthy but you had to look close to see it.

We now know where they live – and we know that house is up for sale and nobody is living there. But at least we can redirect the people looking for money to the pharmacy.

So, I’m counting down the days.. will we be moving? Or not? I’ll let you know as soon as I know. ;)

move to the beach, renting