Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yay more storage on the way!

When we moved into our home almost 2 years ago (17 July 2009), I bought with me several (ok well maybe 20!) boxes of 'stuff' that I had been dragging from house to house over the previous 10 or so years, during my never to be repeated (hopefully!) rental life!

Over the past 2 years I have gradually been going through the boxes, giving away what I no longer needed/want, and repacking into fewer (say 8!) boxes, and storing them in our 2nd bedroom and garage.

Our home is 3 bedrooms, but only the main has built in robe, the only other storage in the house is the linen cupboard, then the garage.

So we decided we wanted to get built-ins put in the 2nd bedroom, which (gods willing) will be our future kids room.  We had a local guy come and quote, he was great, very down to earth, great reputation, and reasonably priced, compared to getting a crew from Newcastle or Sydney.

We confirmed the work about 5 weeks ago, and yesterday the install began, woohoo!

These are a couple of dodgy pics form my phone, when I got home last night, the builder was back at 7.45am this morning, and according to Mr Mel he's currently 'working like a trojan on it'.  So hopefully when I get home tonight it will be all done! And I will take more pics tonight.

So not only do we get much needed storage, hopefully we have added some value to the house, now with 2 bedrooms with substantial built ins!

We have the built-ins going across the width of the room, up to about a foot below our 12 foot ceilings, we didn't want to ruin our lovely ceilings, so are stopping short, and there will be a decorative edging at the top of the robe, that will finish it off nicely.
Oh and ignore the hideous blue paint, the previous owners had painted it blue and cream, for their two young boys, I shall be changing that later this year!

Till next time,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

28cms & a nail file!

I had my weigh in & measurement this morning at Curves, very happy with the results.

Even though this 6 weeks has included me being sick for almost 3 weeks, a semi crushed big toe from a 500kg horse landing on it, a suspected bonespur on my heel, being away in Sydney with work for a week, and missing out on at least 4 weeks of gym attendance, the results were pretty good.

28cm's gone - that's right 28cm's, I had to ask the Curves lady to measure again!

Bust -6.00 cm
Waist -8.00 cm
Abdomen -4.00 cm
Hips -2.00 cm
Thighs -4.00 cm
Arms -4.00 cm

I received a printout of my report, with the cm & kgs lost highlighted, and a lovely Curves nailfile.
Curves nailfile - I really need a better camera on my phone!
I started at Curves back in March, and Mr Mel & I kicked off with the Great Australian Diet in April, we have changed the way we eat and live, less, but better quality food, and at least 40 minutes a day of exercise.

We both feel alot healthier for it, Mr Mel has lost over 10kgs, just amazing, and alot of people are noticing, which gives him even more motivation, it's great to see how much happier he is.

I've lost just under 7kg all up, and I too feel a hell of alot better for it, we both have a fair way to go, I have more to lose still than Mr Mel, but we're both very conscious and 'in the moment' with our food & exercise now, which can only be a good thing.
Till next time,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 14 - our lovely lad

On my mind this Friday, is our lovely lovely lad, Gatto (nickname), the 2010 foal from our mare.
Gatto's mum, fat as a fool 8 months pregnant
I took Gatto's mum for her 'date' back on 8th October 2009, when she was covered by the stallion, I nervously waited 3 agonising days with fingers & toes crossed until the vet confirmed she had ovulated.  Then waited 11 months, until 20 September 2010, when she produced our magnificent Gatto. We were so happy to have a colt, as in the Thoroughbred world, unfortunately, colts are generally of much higher value than fillies.
Gatto at 4 hours
I kept Gatto company when he was weaned from his mum, and reassured him that he was ok on his own.  I taught him that a headcollar, and lead, and brushes weren't scary monsters to be fearful of. I taught him that walking with me, nice and calm, was a lovely place to be.
Gatto at 8 days
I visited him out with his mates and singled him out for a bit of extra TLC and scratches.
Gatto at 6 months
I picked the brand he would have (6 for good luck), and held him while he was branded and microchipped. Then taught him that a rug was his best friend to keep him warm and clean, not to devour him whole!

This week I spent from Sunday to Thursday midday with him at least 12 hours a day, showing him off to interested buyers, we were hoping for around 60 inspections, we ended up with 87!
Gatto at the sales complex
I asked industry experts to come and have a look at him and give me their opinions, they loved him, and he showed himself off like an old pro.
Gatto showing himself off a treat
We got him ready for his salesring appearance, I'm not sure if I will put the butterflies down to nerves, or sadness, as I knew it meant the end of our story together.  Gatto paraded beautifully in the sales ring, I video taped his sale, through tears of pride, joy and sadness.  Pride that we had helped produce and raise such a special colt, joy that he was showing himself off to his best ability, and sadness that I was losing him.

In the end, our trading business, is just that a business, but I'm a horse lover through and through, I know some in the industry can just treat their horses as an asset, but I can't, and I'm not ashamed to say so.

We got a terrific price for him, much more than we were hoping, and a hell of alot more than we were expecting, in the current depressed market.  But goes to show, the cream will always rise to the top!

Gatto you were a joy to know, own, and educate, we will follow your career with much interest.  Good luck big boy!

Till we next meet, when I visit you in NZ in 2012, take care sweetpea.

Thanks to Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog for her 'Friday On My Mind' idea, it's a gem, I've clicked through comments on numerous blogs on Rhonda's list, and on my own, and found some great blogs which I'm now following, and looking forward to discovering many more!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moroccan 1 night, Japanese the next!

This week I'm in Sydney for work, arrived on Sunday, and will be here until Thursday afternoon when our horse (a weanling) sells at the Inglis Weanling & Broodmare Sale at Randwick.

I had planned to get through alot of the fabric prep for my DIY Bunting for our wedding, bringing along a big box of fabric, scissors, cutter, etc.

Well so far, no luck!  Sunday night we were treated to dinner by the boss, at Moroccan Feast in Randwick, I had never tried Moroccan but knew I would probably love it, as I really like Turkish food.
Very happy to report that the meal was delicious, and the service was top notch.

We started with a combo of 4 salads :

- Homemade Moroccan Pickle mix
- Tangier Beetroot, seasoned with Chef's spice mix, served cold
- Chickpea salad, with special spice mix
- Eggplant dip, seasoned with garlic, lemon and salt

served with moreish pita bread

I followed with a very yummy Chicken Kourdass (seasoned chicken breast, stuffed with mince, cooked in homemade preserved lemon & lime leaves, with fresh mushrooms & a touch of saffron).

Luckily we walked to the restaurant and back to our hotel, otherwise I think I would have spent the night walking round the room, as I was sooooooooooo full!

Last night we were invited by another sales crew for Japanese, at Monkey Magic, Surry Hills.
We started with a bowl of Miso soup, feels so healthy & clean. Then rice paper rolls with chicken, caramelised onions, julienne vegetables, sesame-miso sauce, so scrumptious!

Main was Slow-Cooked Pork Belly, apple-lime puree, spicy kimchi, salad of pickled vegetables.

A great dinner with good company, a treat on a week that will be very busy.

The miso soup turned out to be VERY cleansing, both myself and workmate spent a bit of time in the bathroom overnight!

Hopefully I'll be posting about a good sale result come Thursday, wish us luck!
Our colt at 4 hours old, he's now 9 months and sells on Thursday!
Till next time,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 13

On my mind today, is some gorgeousness, I ADORE hydrangeas, and we're planning to replant our front garden with them when the weather isn't so freezing & wet, so for now I'm extremely happy with the new addition to our home, some lovely 'indoor' hydrangeas (so 'indoor' might equal not so real, but who's counting heehee).
I want to get a big glass vase for them, but this one will do for now, excuse the dust on the floor, I was having a 'pretty ' moment, not a cleaning moment :)

Happy Friday everyone.

Till next time,

Thanks to Rhonda from the
 Down To Earth blog for her 'Friday On My Mind' idea, it's a gem, I've clicked through comments on numerous blogs on Rhonda's list, and on my own, and found some great blogs which I'm now following, and looking forward to discovering many more!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Windy Wet Wintery Wednesday

Driving to work today the one lane bridge I cross each morning, which usually has a trickle about 8 feet down, is currently a fast running creek around 1 foot under the bridge, the paddocks on the farms surrounding work are looking more like very big swimming pools, and the cattle & horses don't look anything more than miserable.

Luckily where I work is mostly elevated, so only the low parts of the farm are under water, but everywhere else feels like you're walking on a very wet sponge, water squelching out underfoot each step.

So far this week we've had around 90mls, that's just from 1am Monday morning (currently 9am Wednesday).

The forecast isn't looking like much improvement is on the way, below is the current Bureau of Meteorology map
Bureau of Meterology Map (source)
BOM are forecasting 90-100mls today, with wind gusts up to 90km/h!  The rivers in the area are rising, with some due to burst their banks today.

It seems June is the month for massive downpours, a couple of weeks before I moved up here from Victoria, in July 2007 there were the 'June 2007 Hunter Floods' where 10 lives were lost during horrid 2 day storm.

In June 2009 Mr Mel and I had his family up from Sydney for a weekend, and we (8 adults, 3 kids) were just about housebound for the weekend, one trip saw us being the last cars across a soon to be flooded causeway!

Now 2 years later in June 2011, a similar sort of scenario to 2009 is settling in, with heavy rain forecast through to Friday this week, then hopefully a few days to dry out, before I head to Sydney next week to sell our colt!

Till next time,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Too Cool For Masterchef?

Yesterday we went to the almost washed away FlavourFest at Hunter Valley Gardens, we tried going on Sunday but the torrential rain meant organisers had to cancel the day and try and scramble to reorganise for Monday.

We went last year and had a ball, this year the only real highlight (with many stallholders not coming back after washed out Sunday) being seeing Callum Hann, finalist of 2010 Masterchef cook.  Callum seems a very down to earth young guy, he had a casual, if a bit nervous, persona in front of the small crowd, he was engaging and spoke with genuine enthusiasm and warmth.  He was more at ease when he was cooking - Vietnamese Prawn Salad then a Confit Pork Belly - both looked delish.

In the small crowd watching Callum was his Masterchef mate Matthew Caldicott, the accountant who wanted to follow his passion and move into cooking, according to his Masterchef spiel.
(photo source)
Sorry to report that Matthew thought he was a bit too cool for school, evidenced by the following exchange with Mr Mel (we were standing next to him in a 'crowd' of about 20 people) :

Mr Mel - G'day Mate, you here to support Callum? (he had been talking to Callum 5 mins previous)
Matthew - Yes
Mr Mel - What do you think of the current Masterchef crew?
Matthew - Don't watch it, I've never watched it, didn't watch the one I was on, only went on it
Mr Mel - Ahhh ok, so are you working in cooking now?
Matthew - No back at old job (accountant)
Mr Mel - Righto well good luck

Now I'm not sure if Matthew was just having a bad day in the cold wet weather, or if that's his normal personality, but gees louise, it wouldn't kill you to smile or engage with someone talking to you, or to show a bit of respect to the show that gave you a bit of fame.

And yes everyone is entitled to their privacy, but it wasn't as if we were bugging him for an interview etc, just a pleasant 'how you going' type chat, to a guy we'd seen on telly, who was standing on his own in a small crowd.

Have to wonder about the real story behind Matthew going on Masterchef.  Was he legitimately interested in becoming a cook? Or was he on there for his few weeks of fame?  I suspect that more than a few contestants are there for the latter, and really it's up to them what they want to gain out of the show, but it wouldn't kill you to fake being pleasant at the least!

Till next time,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 12

On my mind this Friday is my seemingly endless DIY Bunting Project!

I'm wanting to decorate the hall for our wedding with home made bunting, and after measuring everything up it looks like I need around 750 flags to make around 150 metres of bunting!  Oops!

I hadn't sewn since I was in about Year 8 (late 1980's!) so my DIY project may have been a tad ambitious, but proud to say that I can drive the machine I bought, and so far have cut out about 120 flags and have sewn up around 75, so I'm slowly getting there.
My Brother beast!
This weekend is a long weekend (yay!) so I shall be bunting my butt off!  In between running around getting my pre-wedding to-do list (which is meant to be shrinking but is growing!) done!

Luckily I'm finding sewing/bunting quite relaxing, thank god, otherwise it would have been a disaster!
The first stitches!
First flags, from calico, just in case I stuffed them up!
First non calico flags cut out
And sewn up!

These are all sewn up now
Some red to break up the green
Till next time,

Thanks to Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog for her 'Friday On My Mind' idea, it's a gem, I've clicked through comments on numerous blogs on Rhonda's list, and on my own, and found some great blogs which I'm now following, and looking forward to discovering many more!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grin and Bare It

Now I've written the title, I'm not sure if it should be 'bear' or 'bare', how annoying!

Just having one of those days where over and over in my mind (albeit now with a question mark on the spelling) goes the words "just grin and bare it", "think of England" blahdy blah blah.

You know when you have someone say something to you and your instant thought is "I could just smash you in the face with a tennis racket right now"?  (well I hope someone knows, eek or I'm a tad whacky!)

I try to bite my tongue most times when I could easily let fly, and I'm usually successful.

Today after being the recipient of a out of line comment (don't want to get into details as this could turn into War & Peace) I just had to get out of harms way so to speak, instead of launching a tennis racket or a tirade, I said "I just have to head out for a bit", got in my car and drove for an hour, leaving my work mobile on my desk.
(photo source)
I have just Googled 'one of those days' and one of the first links was

their advice is below and I'm happy to see I actually did alot of the things they suggest, without really thinking about it (my comments in green):

  • Take a breather
    Get away from it all. Disconnect the phone, turn off the computer. Heck, lock yourself in a cupboard if you can’t get away from work. Give yourself a chance to clear your head and gain some perspective. You can’t get hold of your day if you don’t give yourself a chance to regain control. One or two unfortunate events will effect your mood which can ultimately cause things to spiral if you don’t take a step back
  • Yay I actually did this, I got in the car without the work mobile, hit the road, music up loud, singing & yelling alternatively
  • Work out what the problem is
    What makes you think you are having one of those days? Was it the moody customer who shouted at you? Have you been inundated with work because two of your staff are off sick? Having one of those days will put you in a bad mood. It’s important to know exactly what the cause is so you can do something about it.
  • Oh I know what the problem is!!  Don't get me started!
  • Shit happens…
    There is a logical, rational reason for everything. You might not directly cause it but it’s there all the same. If a customer gives you a hard time because another department didn’t do its job properly, that’s unfortunate. But these things do happen. If you’re dwelling on it while hiding in the cupboard, tell yourself you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Yes shit does happen, but when shit keeps happening it's NOT wrong place wrong time!  Well actually it is, wrong job wrong time perhaps?
  • …but could I have done something about it?Things happen that ruin our day which are out of our control, but there also things that, in hindsight, we could have  influenced or can yet gain some control over. Could you perhaps have dealt with the rude customer a little better? Can you defer or delegate the workload till the absent staff return? Take the lessons from the experience now so it doesn’t mess up another day in the future.
  • Not really, out of the blue comment that was so (A) untrue, (B) not needed, (C) hurtful
  • Treat yourself and move on
    Rationalizing and being proactive will help you to smooth out the whole unpleasantness but if it fixed your entire day you wouldn’t be having one ofthose days in the first place. Take lessons from the experience and try and get through the rest of the day. Treat yourself by going for retail therapy, having a nice meal or watching a film, if it helps. Then get to sleep. You will almost certainly feel much better the next day.
  • Yay I actually did this too, on my hour long drive I bought myself a bottle of poison, well not really poison, Ice Break, same/same really, as I'm on a pre-wedding diet, and good old Ice Break is not my friend!
  • Don’t live in a bubble
    A boxer will never be successful if he just runs around the ring avoiding his opponent’s blows. Likewise you will never get anywhere if you are not willing to take the knocks and blows  that life will all to readily dish out. You may feel like hiding in your shell when the day turns against you, but resist that urge, it’s not an habit you want to slip into. Shake it off and get back in the fight.
  • Again something I've done to a degree, I have requested some info on a course to change career.  I'm not really shaking off the comment cause I'm still quite pissed at it and the commenter, but I'm back in the ring of my career if you know what I mean.  Don't they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result?  Well my info request is the start of changing what I'm doing to hopefully get a different result!
That's my whinge quota full for a while, so I'll sign off :)   Tomorrow is Friday, woohoo!!!!!!!

Till next time,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Our foal - an update - 3

Our 'little' foal has certainly grown up, he's now 8.5 months old, and getting so big and strong it's amazing.
Gatto @ 8.5 months - 3rd June 2011
Gatto @ 8 days - 28 September 2010

We have bred him as part of our business, our horse trading, so in 2.5 weeks he will go to auction in Sydney.

It will be our second weanling to go to auction, and it's so hard, I planned the mating that produced him, I cared for his mum leading up to conception, I drove his mum to meet her 'date' (yes I feel a bit like a pimp!), I cared for his mum for the 11 months of her pregnancy, was there when he was born, helped him have his first drink, cleaned his mum up after he was born.

Almost every day since he was born I've seen him or had something to do with him, be it a pat as walking through the paddock to collect another horse, or when his mum had to come in for vetting.

I comforted him at weaning time when his mum was taken away, I got him through his first feel of a head collar, a  lead rope, a rug.  I taught him how to lead and trust humans.  And in the next 2 weeks I'll be teaching him how to show himself off to his best potential, in the hope he will find a good great home at the June sale.

Yes it's hard, very hard, but I have almost resigned myself to the fact that my 'job' with Gatto is to get him through his first 9 months, so he has the best chance he can have to become what his destiny is, a racehorse, hopefully of the highest order.

So for now I will relish my time with Gatto, and in 2.5 weeks time I will no doubt shed a tear as the auction hammer falls and he goes home with someone else.  I'm so not going to think of that part for now, makes me sad.

Till next time,

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 11

Another Friday (woohoo) and time for 'Friday On My Mind', an idea from the lovely Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog, to encourage blog visitors to venture to unchartered through comments on blogs and see where they may lead you, I have uncovered some gems of blogs through this Friday feature, I hope you do to!

On my mind this Friday, our lovely day out at the annual Lovedale Long Lunch a few Sundays ago. A lovely way to spend a day, mini-busing around Lovedale stopping at 4 wineries, enjoying their wine, food, entertainment & ambience.  Not very hard to take! :)
Before the imbibing began!
A lovely, welcoming, relaxed environment greeted us at our first stop
The view across Lovedale from Allandale winery
Enjoy your Friday wanderings.

Till next time,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gotta love Valley folk

It's times like this that make you really really appreciate living in a small town.

A few weeks ago at the local horse race meet, friends of our neighbour who we met with mentioned they were needing to sell their daughters pony as she had grown out of it.  I was able to give them some ideas of where to advertise and how to best promote the pony (I buy & sell racehorses as a job).

On Monday night the wife rang to ask for some help re the ad she was putting online, I got her to send me the text and photos, and put the advert together for them, cropping & editing the photos.  She was very thankful, and happy for the help. I emailed the ad and photos to her around midnight Monday night, then on Tuesday I received an email saying:

Thanks so much for doing that for us – it is greatly appreciated.   The photos uploaded with no problem and the add is now up and running.   Once again thanks.   We’ll see how we go.

Last night Mr Mel went to the pub with our neighbour (weekly boys ritual, I'm so happy he's got a mate to have boys time with!) and the husband of the pony wife (struggling to think of clever name!) was there, he was so thankful of my help, he said Mr Mel wasn't to leave without letting him know.

Meanwhile the wife rang me, to say that they were so happy and grateful for the help, that the really appreciated it (she was so lovely!).

Mr Mel arrives home from the pub with a pot of rabbit stew!  Yep a pot of rabbit stew for helping them try and sell their pony, how lovely is that!
Rabbit soup (photo source)
So for dinner last night we had a lovely bowl of hot rabbit soup, Mr Mel's first taste ever, my first taste since I was a kid.

Mr Mel is originally from Sydney, I lived in Melbourne for 15 years after growing up in country Vic.  We both moved to the Hunter Valley not knowing anyone, myself in 2007 to take up a job offer, and Mr Mel in 2010 full time, to be with me :)  It has been a bit of a slog getting to know people, but we're slowly developing a circle of friends, through neighbours, people I go to the gym with, friends of employer etc.  We have been very lucky to have been accepted into the fold by some lovely people, including our rabbit soup makers!

Till next time,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Doc Update - All Clear Yay!

Back in January (yes I've been slack!) I went to our Doctor to have a chat about our kidlet plans, given my age (37), I wanted to get a full check done to make sure there wasn't anything major needing to be addressed before we started trying to start a family.

So it was around 4 months overdue but last week I went to get my blood drawn, after 2 goes in my right arm, she tried my left and was able to draw the 6 vials needed!  I ended up with a massive black bruise on my right arm, about 10cm diameter, but the left one was fine.

Last night met with the doc, and was very happy to get a near all clear, my cholesterol & blood sugar were normal, yay, I don't have any diseases woohoo, the only sub normal result was for Rubella.

I, along with most girls my age, were given a Rubella vaccine in primary school, given that's probably close to 30 years ago, no wonder my level was a bit low!
(photo source)
The Doc gave me a jab in the arm for Rubella, went through a few queries I had re pre-conception vitamins (will blog separately), and wished us luck!  He said there was no clinical reason to think we couldn't fall pregnant, here's hoping!

A good end to the day.  Now just need to get this getting married thing done, so we can get to business :)

Till next time,


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