Thursday, March 31, 2011

Can We Do It Update - Mar 2011

31st March, huh?  How is it 31 March already?  New Years seems like a couple of weeks ago!

So now that a quarter of 2011 has gone, a time to assess where we're at with our goals perhaps.

Wedding - Everything is getting on track for our Surprise Wedding in July.  Since last update we picked up our engagement ring (yay), booked a venue, celebrant, caterer, lady to help with decorations.  Even my DIY invitations debacle has been fixed with the help of a friend of Mr Mels, who kindly offered to print what I'd designed, for free! There's still a heap to do but getting there.  

Mortgage - We bought our home in July 2009, We're aiming to have our mortgage paid off in 7 years from starting out, which would make it July 2016.
Update - We're on month 21 of our mortgage, and we're on track, we've got 59.24% equity in our home. We may reduce our repayments as the bills start coming in for July!

Other debt - 
Our total non mortgage debt includes a car loan (as part of mortgage package, at same interest rate), and a VISA we've since closed. Our aim is to have all of this debt paid off by mid 2015.
Update - Compared to when we started back in July 2009, we're sitting at approx 64% non mortgage debt gone, which is great. We have paid off the VISA, and are still happy with having our money in the offset against the mortgage, not sitting in the car, however are always reviewing. Looking like we'll have it paid off well before aim of mid 2015.

Weight - As per other updates, my weight covers a few areas, getting healthy & fit, getting my body in the right place to conceive (and fit in a near 'normal' wedding dress!!). 
Update - I joined Curves a few weeks ago, and Mr Mel and I started on the 'Great Australian Diet', this week. So far I'm down just on 3kg, Mr Mel 2kg.  It's happening, yay!

Business - In Feb 2010 Mr Mel gave up his job in Sydney to have a go at turning his hobby into a business. We also launched a new blog/site Hunter Valley Grapevine, which we're hoping we can slowly grow.
Update - We have the Hunter Valley Grapevine blog/site up and running, need to dedicate a bit of time to it, to get more posts/info going, but at least it's operating!  And we're getting a few visitors yay.  Will ramp that up significantly after July, happy to potter along till then.
Till next time,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

C'mon Dr John!

In our overall quest to get healthier, and our immediate aim to lose weight for our wedding, Mr Mel and I have decided to do 'The Great Australian Diet' by the curly haired sometimes out there doc, Dr John Tickell.  You may have seen Dr John torturing the delish Karl on the Today Show?
I have joined Curves and have lost about 2kgs in the 3 weeks I've been going, that's without being strict on diet, Mr Mel has started to walk twice daily.

The diet is quite strict in parts, but it's a 91 day plan, and given it's around 115 days till our party, it's not too big a sacrifice, hopefully!

Last night we made a batch of the Minestrone Soup, haven't tasted it yet, but it smelt ok, the ingredients were:

  • One large clove garlic
  • Two medium potatoes
  • Two large carrots
  • Two pumpkin wedges
  • Two zucchini
  • One stick celery
  • One parsnip
  • One brown onion
  • One large leek
  • Five to six cups beef stock
  • Two large diced tomatoes
  • Two bay leaves
  • One tablespoon canola spread
  • black pepper
  • One can red kidney beans (strained)
  • 250 grams frozen baby peas

We're both having it for lunch and dinner tonight, so hopefully it's tasty.  We're also hoping Dr John can be our guiding light!  We've got the motivating goal, just need a bit of a kickstart to get going!

Till next time,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 6

Another Friday rolls round yay, and another photo, well a couple, for the lovely Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog Friday Photo Feature - 'On My Mind....'

So what is on my mind this  Friday?.............................

A photo of the lovely cards we received from friends and family for our engagement, sitting on top of our teak tv cabinet. My parents put an announcement in the local paper in my hometown in Vic, and included our address in it.  We received cards from several old friends I haven't seen in 15+ years, lovely!  They're all getting a thank you card post big day.

Till next time,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh to be an artist!

Every year for the past 4, I have attended the annual Arrowfield Stud stallion parade as part of my work, in 2008 the farm unveiled a statue of the Champion stallion REDOUTE'S CHOICE.  The statue was commissioned by John Messara, owner of Arrowfield Stud.  The artist was Tanya Bartlett, and while I've only seen this & 1 other piece, revealed on the same day, she is so talented it's ridiculous.

The statue of Redoute's had so much detail, you almost wanted to give him a pat, well to be honest I did!  Every proportion was perfect, veins popping under a silky coat, the eye of a champion, the lot.

This is the horse Redoute's Choice:
Redoute's Choice on parade
Redoute's Choice

And here are a few shots I took of the amazing statue.

The unveiling
In all his glory - awesome
Almost want to dodge and get out of his way!
The detail is amazing
Till next time,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yowsers that was quick!

The world sure is a funny place, I posted an entry earlier today asking why I can't seem to ever ask for or accept help.

Well 2 hours after my post, Mr Mel received a call from a friend whose brother-in-law is a printer, he asked if we would accept printing of our invitations as an engagement gift!

And guess what??  I said  

How is that for the stars aligning, karma knocking, whatever you'd like to call it!

My form reversal probably has more to do with my failed craft effort yesterday (DIY invites eek), than a change in attitude, but hey gotta start somewhere!

Till next time,

Why it so hard to say YES?

For as long as I can remember I've never been one to either ask for, or accept offers of help.  I'm sure Freud would have a field day explaining the myriad of reasons why, but at the moment I'm not sure what the answer is.
Mr Freud - what do u reckon?
I moved out of home at 19, moved 300km+ away to Melbourne, and rented a house on my own, it was tough, I was paying off a car loan, paying rent, and was a Trainee, where I worked 3 days and went to school 2 days, needless to say my pay packet was miserly.

Even though I had virtually no 'spare' money and would often have cereal or toast 3 meals a day for days on end, I could never bring myself to say 'yes please' when my parents would offer to deposit extra funds in my bank account, my answer was always 'no I'm fine don't worry about it'.  I would then lay awake in bed calculating how much it would cost me to get to work until the next pay day.

At work I would, and still do, stay back ridiculously late after work to get through my workload, when bosses or colleagues would ask if I needed a hand I'd fob them off saying I was fine.

When I was at school, I would be walking home in the pouring rain, friends parents would pull up and ask if I wanted a ride, I'd refuse with a smile.

I moved house about 17 times in 15 years in Melbourne, only twice in those 17 moves did I have anyone help me, once because I was moving out of a house i shared with friends and I helped them move, and the other because my Mum insisted.  The other 15 times I slaved away, staying up till all hours packing, doing hundreds of trips in my car to move whatever would fit, then co-ordinating with the removalists for the bigger items.

Now in my late 30's I seem to have alot of balls in the air, full-time job 5 days a week, managing house & personal finances for Mr Mel & I, managing finances for Mr Mel's business, setting up new business for Mr Mel & I, trying to lose weight and get fit at the gym, and now getting our wedding together.

On the weekend, Mr Mel suggested we hand over the wine sourcing to his Dad (wine buff and wants to help), and my immediate answer was 'no it's fine I'll sort it', meanwhile in my head my brain was going 'great yes please', but that's where it stayed.

So last night I was up till 2am trying to design & make the invitations for our wedding, I was up at 5.45am to go to the gym, and then to work at 8am, will be home at 6pm tonight, and no doubt tonight, as has happened every night for the past 2 weeks I'll be up till after midnight getting through my To Do list.

This isn't a whinge or a woe is me post, nor should it be read as a negative about Mr Mel, he does more than his fair share around here, and continues to offer help with my load, which as you would expect I refuse!! I'm not looking for a pat on the back, just curious.

Is it a female thing, not wanting to admit we need help, or not wanting to be seen to be weak?

Is it a control thing, not wanting to relinquish control in case not done right?

I'm not sure, but I hope one day I'll learn the answer and say 'yes please/thanks that would be great', alot more often!

Till next time,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 5

Another Friday rolls round yay, and another photo, well a couple, for the lovely Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog Friday Photo Feature - 'On My Mind....'

So what is on my mind this  Friday?.............................

Our Engagement Ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Our Engagement Ring - I took the photos when we got home, and forgot to wipe it, so a bit smudgy!

I love the side on view, a bit of an art deco feel
Some sparkles
We got engaged on Feb 14, Valentines Day, and after a bit of looking around, a friend of Mr Mel's father is a retired jeweller and he offered us a fantastic deal on getting the ring we loved made, after 2 weeks this is the result!!

The band is alot wider than most engagement rings, but we love it, it suits my somewhat sausage fingers, and it's a bit different, just like us  :)

Till next time,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Meant To Be A Sean

Whenever I asked my parents what they would have named me had I been a boy my father says 'Sean', you and your sister were both Sean until you were born!

That's probably got a fair bit to do with the Irish blood running through our veins, not to mention having been born and raised in a part of country Vic with a high Irish and Catholic population!

My sister and I went to Catholic primary and Catholic Girls secondary college (currently lapsed so to speak from being active catholics!), where every second kid was a Murphy, Doyle, Kelly, Walsh, Lanigan, Doherty, O'Brien, O'Rourke, McMahon, Fitzpatrick, etc etc.

It's quite ironic that Mr Mel while his surname is German, his Mother's Maiden name is Doyle! Just can't keep the Irish away :).

I spent a month in Ireland 10 years ago, and it felt so much like where I grew up in country Victoria, no wonder my family gravitated to the area many moons ago!

So on this 17th of March, the day of the death of Saint Patrick, a wee blessing for you all:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

As a nod to the blood of my ancestors, tonight we shall be dining on slow cooked lamb shoulder, champ, cabbage & Guinness, followed by a Irish Creme Brulee!

Till next time,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yes Please - Just Need To Win Lotto!

Mr Mel and I have a goal to have our own property, to run our own stock, horses, cattle, goats, and grow our own meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and veggies.  We almost bought a small 5 acre property 18 months ago when we bought our first home, but the timing wasn't right, Mr Mel had just gone out working for himself, and had moved up here from Sydney.  So we decided to buy a lovely house in town, which we adore. But long term we want to have some property.

To that end I have an ongoing search registered with for property in our area.  Yes it could be considered a bit of self torture, but who knows I might stumble across a bargain one day!

If we happen to win Lotto soon, this one would be a very welcome acquisition to our property portfolio of 1!!

OurLotto purchase - should we win!
It's only on 5 acres, so not too much work, ideally we'd like about 25 acres, but hey if we win Lotto maybe we can buy the property next door too!  More info at listing  (I have no connection to the vendors or agents, just in love with the property!)

Till next time,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

What can be said, other than Japan you and your people are held close in our hearts and thoughts in this time of terrible tragedy and loss.

Till next time,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Project - Garden Do-Over!

Another Friday rolls round yay, and another photo, well a couple, for the lovely Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog Friday Photo Feature - 'On My Mind....'

So what is on my mind this lovely mild Friday?.............................

Nothing like tackling a project in the middle of a storm!

When we bought our home in July 2009 we thought the front garden was ok, for now, that we'd get to it eventually. Well it looks like we, well really I have decided that eventually is now, in the middle of trying to get fit, getting our new blog/business up & running, planning for our engagement party/wedding, and working full-time!

Since we moved in the geisha girl plants (I think that's their name) have got a bit out of control, we removed the one immediately to the right of the steps as it was growing partly from under the steps, and we have tried to keep the other two under control by adhoc hacking.

Garden when we first moved in
We've never really liked the plants, the garden itself is a bit of a hodge podge of plants, none of which really take our fancy.

So we've decide its outskies for the current residents.  Haven't decided what we'll plant in their place as yet. The garden bed doesn't get alot of direct sun, it's shaded by the house most of the day, so we'll be going with shade loving/tolerant plants.

This weekend we're heading to Sydney to pick up our engagement ring (yay), and then next weekend we'll be getting stuck in to removing everything, then we'll give it a couple of weeks rest, to see what weeds pop up, and give us some time to plan.

At this stage I'm thinking green/gray and perhaps some maroon coloured plants with some height.  Or maybe even my favourites hydrangeas! We had them growing at our childhood home, and I've always loved them.

Hydrangeas - love them!
So if anyone out there has any recommendations, we're all ears!  :)

Till next time,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Curves - it didn't kill me!

Very happy to report I had my first Curves session this morning and it didn't kill me, yay!

I arrived at 6.30am, met with one of the trainers and went through all the paperwork, weigh in (eek), measurements (eek again), body fat measurement (holy hell eeeeek!), she was lovely and reassured me I wasn't the worst she's seen, yay!

From all the measurements the good news is I'm taller than I thought 169cm, woohoo!

After the paperwork I did a circuit with her, the concept of a 30 minute workout rotating through stations doesn't sound that intense, but some of the stations are quite full on.

I was feeling my quads especially after the different leg push/pull machines.

My heartrate got to the 'target range' of 22-26 during the circuit, so I was burning cals, yay!

We get measured and weighed once a month, so hopefully by 4 April there will have been some movement in the downwards direction on both cm & kg fronts!

My plan is to attend at least 3 times a week, hopefully more, we shall see. They also offer Zumba, so if I'm game I MIGHT! give it a try.

So to sum up my 1st visit to Curves, I enjoyed it and was feeling it by the time I'd done two circuits. Not sure it will be a long term thing as I think it might get a bit boring, but happy to stick with it leading into the wedding! Then hopefully I will be alot fitter and confident to try the 'mainstream' gym.

Till next time,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 4

Another Friday rolls round yay, and another photo for the lovely Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog Friday Photo Feature - 'On My Mind....'

So what is on my mind this lovely mild Friday?.............................

Seeings as Mr Mel and I are wanting to get married later this year (we got engaged on Valentines Day a few weeks ago, yay), I've bitten the bullet and joined Curves.

I need to get healthy and lose weight as a long term goal, but hopefully Curves can help me meet the short term goal of not looking dreadful in a wedding dress!

The ladies at the local Curves seem lovely, altho the lady teaching the Boot Camp class when I was there seemed a bit scary!

So this weekend I'm buying new runners, new gym clothes, and I start on Monday, look out!

Till next time,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

39c to mini cyclone in 30 seconds!

Yesterday around 3pm we had a crazy storm cell hit us, the temp was about 39c, and I had been watching the radar online at Bureau of Meterology, and could see a small storm cell coming our way, it didn't look sinister, just heavy rain.

Boy was I wrong, out of nowhere hail came pelting down, I left the office to bring my car under cover, and the rain was coming through the barn horizontally and you couldn't see more than a few meters in front, it was like a blizzard of rain & hail.  I nearly got bowled over running to my car.

With the car safe inside I ran out to check on the foals (we had just turned out the 6 newly weaned foals into a big paddock), but I couldn't see more than a meter into the paddock. Then lighting started landing close by, so I went back to the barn.

After the lightning had stopped, we started doing a livestock and fence check.

Luckily none of us and no horses were injured.

We had about 12 gum trees partially or fully down, most had come down safely, 2 had come down over fences, but the paddocks were empty so not too bad.

The biggest casualty was the poor front gate!

Farm gate after a gum landed on it - we had already removed 3 big branches
The power was out until about 9pm, and we spent the rest of the daylight hours chopping up fallen trees, pulling down loose branches, and building a massive future bonfire in the dam paddock!  Today will be more of the same.

I realise our storm is nothing in the scheme of Cyclone Yasi, the floods, Christchurch disaster, etc, but it was still enough to rattle our cages.

Till next time,


Related Posts with Thumbnails