If I was to relocate overseas…

I drafted this post a long time ago, maybe 2015 or 2016, but it was even more interesting to re-read given my flatmate moved internationally to live back in Australia.  And his boxes have arrived! So I can report on his decisions below in italics in 2017!

So, work’s restructuring.  I feel confident.  I have to feel confident, I have to lead 60 people through it.  But I legitimately free OK.

The BF’s work (see how old this is?)is making HUGE changes, which could see opportunities internationally.  We could possibly move internationally.

Even if the above is only a dream… people do move house!

If we move far, we would not pack
– almost anything electrical (TV, VCR/DVD, fridge, washing machine, desktop computer, blender, iron, toaster, kettle, food processer) flatmate seems to have sent a computer screen, cables and cords, a modem (how he thought he could wait months for that!)
– second hand/Ikea furniture (dining chairs and table, occasional chairs, IKEA bed frames, buffet, kitchen trolley, coffee table, outdoor chairs and table) yep, he brought no furniture
– linens (towels, sheets, donna covers, cushions) again, all supplied by me in the initial months
– cheaper ‘art’: second hand canvas photo prints (3)! again, none.
– decorator items like birdcages, Astroturf rabbit, ornamental Easter eggs well… no, but.. there has been about 30 tchokees arrive and be put out on a common area.  They are travel souvenirs..

We would take with us
– clothing of all seasons, location dependent flatmate seemed to have sent many clothing items on the slow boat!
– personal electronics like laptops, tablets and phones; toothbrush and hair dryer obviously!

We would store!?
– sentimental items like photo albums and journals and art
– the couches – I love them. They were bought new. They will not sell well. It took me a long time to find the ‘right’ sofa. My parents stored theirs for three years and only just replaced them (stored from 1995-1998)
– cushion covers if I love them – this one totally surprises me!  What WAS I thinking?
– books – I don’t have many, what I do have, is because I WANT to keep them, but with a clear limit (ie one tea chest sized box)

Things I have NO idea about
– cutlery and crockery – they’d last time, but they are heavy so there’d be little point in taking them he’s not shipped either, but… done well to break some glasses and crockery – special skills, cause I can’t recall the last time I smashed something!
– kitchen gadgetry from pots to pans to utensils – which is similar to the above so, the flatmate has bought some things of his preference (cast iron pans) as little things like silicone rings for eggs and oversized ice cube trays.  His choices usually puzzle me!  He’d packed to ship items like a knife sharpener, and got impatient and re-bought one.
– lamps – I LOVE some of them. But again, HEAVY! And electrical, life can be unkind to them when they are out of use Flatmate loves that we have lamps (well… uses them) but thinks one is a little too bright…  Didn’t see the rush to buy a dimmer globe when it blew, so I’m ignoring his feedback :p

What this made me realise? Buying cheaper furniture that I like, whether Ikea or second hand, makes me less invested in keeping it if life changes. That being said, I’m happy with it. I don’t want to upgrade it.

A dreamy future

I think we all have this fantasy of what life ‘might’ be like if only… And I thought I might try to capture those thoughts, so I could perhaps work towards it!

I wish for a home that is comfortable.  It’s lived in.  Everything isn’t rigidly straight and tucked away and perfect, it’s lived in.  But it’s not uncomfortable for visitors – it’s not grimy or dusty or clutter-y.  They feel they can put their cup or mug down – there’s always somewhere nearby and easy, but nothing seems to precious – too breakable or stainable.

There’s people always around – coming and going.  But it’s laid back and casual – it’s not a show.  It’s not a performance.  They will sit and chat to me as I prepare wholesome food.  I no longer think making jam is a sin for those trying to be healthy and eat less sugar, but see it as a way of saving nature’s bounty from waste.  There’s ample containers to store all the things I prepare, and ample room in fridges and cupboards to store things, but not lose things! There’s enough to feed whomever may be around and be hungry.

The bathrooms are clean – no dust bunnies.  Nothing cringe worthy in it’s dirtiness.  There’s no mould growing.  There’s no funky smells.  And the medicine cupboard, it’s stocked, but not over stocked, and anyone may open it and take what they need.  Nothing in there is a secret or taboo or gross.

The laundry is functional – there’s somewhere to hang the clothing needing ironing.  There’s a place for everything to be tucked away.  Things can easily soak.  Lost socks can linger in a special place awaiting a mate.

The home is bathed in sunshine and warmth. When it’s cold and blustery outside, it’s snug.  When it’s warm and muggy, there’s a gentle breeze.

There’s a garden, with warm sunshine and delicious cool shade.  Things grow with ease. I grow food and fragrant flowers.

The things I’ve realised I prefer in a home

Moving into the lighthouse has helped me further refine what I look for in a home!

  • a sink dimensional to the bench space: there’s no point in a huge sink at the expense of bench space (ie the light house) and there’s value in small sinks as they take less water (thank you loft)
  • gas stoves are wonderful (light house), but 5 burner is overkill for a small kitchen
  • air conditioning being built in is SO much quieter than portable aircons. But if it’s ducted, it needs a timer and zones.
  • insect screens on the windows – I realise now that the 2 bedder was great for having screens on all openings – making the mozzie bait safe (me!); the loft needed one on the sliding door and I would have invested in one, but moved out before my second summer.  Here – the windows all have screens but the bifolds don’t and I notice an increase in bedtime biters if I leave the bifolds open in the dusk hours.
  • dishwashers – for 1-2 person dwellings, a single drawer dishwasher is a brilliant idea.  The loft had a fullsize one, and I seldom filled it for a load.
  • mixer taps! I never thought about the kitchen sink NOT having a mixing tap, and it’s a step more than you really want to deal with when you want to quickly rinse something in warm water.

I still want a bathroom with a window – something none of my past three homes have had.

I always seek out

  • pantry. The light house was super shallow and I think this is the optimal style to not lose things behind other things
  • linen closet. Somewhere that’s central to all people is better than something that will be steamed up in the bathroom.

And all three have had lifts (something that was on my ‘don’t want list’ when I was buying!).  In the two bedder and here, being on level 3, I’ve been pretty thankful to have a lift!

My parents home is a library

I thought I would take some photos to demonstrate the quantity of books in my parents house.  All of them, I would expect, are read.  They aren’t for show, or nostalgia – well I’m sure some stay from a nostalgic point of view, such as the ones on antiques, surfing and teaching physical education.

These shelves have started to be sorted into authors – Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Leon Uris, Jonathan Patterson, Jonathan Kellermann, Janet Evanovich. There’s a shelf or two of CDs, but they’re never used anymore, of course!

The other side of the fire place in the formal living room which has doubled as my bedroom. Lonely Planets, Harry POtter, Richard North Patterson, Deighton, Bryon, Robert Ludlum, John Le Carre, Sue GRafton, Robert Harris

Glass fronted bookcase – the bottom half isn’t filled with books, so that’s… something?

And that completes the previous formal living room/part time my bedroom.

Now for the casual living area at the back of the house:

Colour coded – so yes, hard to find things. This was colour coded when this add on room was built. The bottom left quadrant is DVDs

My brother’s bedroom… and also at times the formal dining room.  We have a house that’s very adaptable!

Three of these bookshelves hang out in my brother’s bedroom

Wooden bookcase two – some of my brother’s political reading

Third wooden bookcase, and a hodge podge of left over books

Now into the casual dining area, off the kitchen.

Around the doorway, from the casual dining area off the kitchen

At the back of the casual living room, between the kitchen. There are books everywhere

And for the smallest room in the house, the study, which… also had a previous life as a (tiny) bedroom for my brother.

Study, right hand side. And I recent corralled all the French dictionaries for my imminent daily reading of a French novel

Study book case on the left

Third study bookcase, which was formerly a window to the informal living area (now). Another French dictionary tucked in there

Interestingly, there’s two bedrooms with no bookcases or shelves.  And our three bathrooms are spartan of books… well as far as a permanent place for books!

Can you see from the first three photos why I have felt a little… cluttered?  I’ll be moving into my parent’s bedroom whilst they’re away, and I’ll relish the wart on walls, and blank wardrobe doors 🙂

How does you home compare for this quantity of books, and shelves?

Moving day

I recall thinking I liked moving.  I think I liked having things organised into boxes perhaps?  But I decidedly do NOT like moving.  Not this time!  I’ve moved into my parents home, as in two months time they’ll head overseas for a school year, and I’ll house sit.  It’ll be great to live in a house, with a garden and a pool and a delightful dog.

Pretty back yard

I’m dealing with the crunch of my household of stuff into an existing household of stuff!

Let’s look at the positives

  • No whitegoods.  The ‘light house’ came with a fridge and a washing machine, which aren’t usually included in rentals in Australia.  I did move into that home with a washing machine which I subsequently sold to a guy I dated a handful of times
  • One less sofa: I visited a friend recently who’d moved into a new home.  His floor plan could easily do with another sofa – given there was one two seater and I was there for a six person dinner party.  He and his flatmate agreed to a year long loan, and came and collected the bigger of the sofas the day before the move!
  • Sold second hand items again: I sold some items, all of which I identified as not ‘love’ and ‘long term’ items.  All were Ikea.  They were
    • stainless steel dining room table
    • Kallax four box storage cubby I used in the laundry and bought just for the light house
    • TV cabinet I bought for $25 and sold for $40 + $40 for delivery.  Profiteering right there!

Profit making TV cabinet

  • Clothing rationalised: I went through my wardrobe and donated items I moved a year ago and hadn’t worn.  Yep, two pairs of jeans that continued unworn.  A jacket I kept ear marking to replace, and when I didn’t wear it all this year… out it went.
  • Food pantry: I donated my handful of canned goods to the refugee collection my church runs

Things that I am yet to work out

All loaded into my parents house – but alone I wasn’t game to start moving stuff in newly painted rooms

  • Clothing chaos: when I last lived at home, more than 6 years ago, I owned a wardrobe.  I sold it when I moved to the loft which had built ins, and the subsequent two homes had built ins.  Now I’m back and in a ‘not really’ bedroom, so no built ins.  And the bedrooms with built ins have occupants and are FULL.  I also need somewhere for smalls, and folded items.  A puzzle still to resolve right there.
  • My functionless furniture:
    • A wooden trolley: which houses a small wine rack – no need in my bedroom!
    • A coffee table: at least the wood tones match the fireplace tones
    • Shoe rack: again, there just seems no logical place to put this!
    • Buffet: was my entry ‘landing strip’ where I also store things like hardware, handbags, sewing kit – you know, things people need!
    • Six upholstered chairs: from my dining table which is gone. update: the friend who took a couch also took these chairs.  He’s worth his weight in gold!
  • My parents existing furniture in my room (whilst my parents are still home)
    • Glass fronted book case
    • Antique dining table… and there’s a dozen chairs I think, scattered now throughout the house.  Of course, we also have a kitchen table with modern chairs
    • Piano
  • Art: I have so much art.  And it’s genetic – so do my parents!!  Thankfully most of the house has picture rails, so it’s not a hue struggle to put it up.  Of course, I like to ensure art sort of matches in theme or framing.  At least a large home has a stack of walls

Even two weeks later, there’s still more work to be done!

Dave Ramsey made me wanna

So, for reasons I can no longer recall, I started to follow David Ramsey for Australians on Facebook.  I have a history of reading personal finance blogs, and whilst they often drive me insane (the content is very repetitive, and they all want to monetise… And a little ranty). This is how I’ve come to know the bible belt financial gospel guru.  Aside from books, he also has a podcast.  I do not listen to it.

I know the basics – there’s baby steps, and they are pretty darn simple and logical to me, a daugher of a banker

  1. Save a $1000 emergency fund
  2. Pay off consumer debts, start with the smallest debt and work through them.  AKA Debt snowball
  3. Save for (three to) six months of expenses
  4. Pay into your retirement fund at 15% of income
  5. Save for your children’s education
  6. PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE
  7. Spend/donate etc

That’s from memory… If I got it wrong, I’m not too fussed.  My post is about what reading all these posts have made me wonder…

How long would it take me to pay off my mortgage?

I kept turning the idea over in my head, and couldn’t work it out.  So I broke it down.

First I’d get my offset account to “fully paid up”.  For long term readers, you might recall that I go to this point with a previous lender.  I am onto my third lender – each time the fixed term component ‘matures’ I review the market and go for the lowest interest rate.  Cause..  loyalty gets you no where.  So I started with

  • ANZ (2 years, all fixed), then went to started in Dec 2011
  • Bankwest (3 years, 20% variable with offset, 80% fixed), and now I’m with
  • ING (2 years, 40% variable, 60% fixed) started in Jan 2017

When I looked at my regular ‘inputs’ to my offset account, I could work out roughly what goes in monthly, less what goes out monthly (namely, moving money out of offset to the two mortgage components), and a quarterly strata bill.  I did a calculation and found out I could do it 10 months.  Which was pretty darn close.  And then… I received an inheritance, quite unexpectedly (and I never count those sorts of things). And now I’m close to 6 months. (And I don’t plan to put all the inheritance onto the mortgage, I plan to purchase two ‘big ticket’ items which I see as heirlooms  – one is a gorgeous desk and the other is getting a ring made.  Cause… a paid of mortgage is great, but the two items will hold memories, and were things I was saving for before this unexpected windfall).  Let’s call that out – it would be January 2018! Wow.  By my birthday!

My place is NOT this pretty

And then, I looked what would happen if the same monthly amount *could* go onto the fixed mortgage month on month, knowing it can’t due to stupid rules.  That’s not the point – the point was to motivate myself with the timeline of when I could have it ALL paid off – and the answer was, that amount would take 2 years and seven months.   I was gobsmacked it was such a small duration of time.  You ‘buy’ 25 and 30 year mortgages!  And I’m talking about August 2020.

Of course, I don’t have a step 5 to fund of Dave Ramsey’s plan.  (And I’m at 12.5% +$50p/w on my retirement). And I’m at prime child rearing age, so I’d happily have this plan hijacked by having kids.  But each month I’m not pregnant (ha! I’m single!) is a month I could shoehorn some money into that mortgage and get closer to that end goal of NO MORTGAGE!

I dream of a garden like this (via)

Oh, and 2020 is a much mentioned year where I work.  Because politician Fred Nile got it written into law that if our company was sold (aka long term leased) there could be NO job reductions until 2020.  Well… provided there wasn’t an agreed forced redundancy policy introduced – and you can be sure our strong union will die fighting a forced redundancy policy.  But there’s this concept of job guarantees (when we have 3,570 employees, and Treasury did also say that could be certain types of contractors) until 2020.  And… well… No one knows where we are at relative to that magic 3,570.  To me, it doesn’t matter.  Working hard is what matters.  Take it a day at a time.  That being said, so many people say ‘well we won’t have jobs in 2020’.  I cannot think that far in front of me, there’s enough going on RIGHT NOW.  But, that some mythical 2020 is when I could have a mortgage paid off.  Imagine… I could be someone who takes in rent from my tenants (ha) and due to the rent differential, could live on the spoils.  Ha! It’s not a plan I conceive actually happening, but it’s fun to imagine!

Now every time the doom and gloom mongers say ‘2020’ I will think about having no mortgage.  What fun!

Feel free to check in, in a few months.  Who knows, I might get seduced by international travel, and adjust this back a month or two… Let’s see.

The lighthouse

Just like I lived in the loft when I started this blog, let’s call place 3 the lighthouse.  I’m not sure what to call place 2 – the 2 bedder?  That’ll work!

So the light house, is not, in fact a light house! It is, however, VERY light.  My father suggested my last two homes had been caves! How rude! But there was some truth in

This 2 bedroom apartment has windows on both sides of the apartment, so it’s great for cross breezes.  There is a corridor or hallway that exteds from the front door to the built in laundry cabinet (see the picture below), and off this, initially, is a loggia (code word for strange balcony, I’ll come back to that), then the living kitchen open plan.   The corridor then closes in and you have the first bathroom, the first bedroom, then the master bedroom with the ensuite which tucks in behind that laundry cupboard.  The corridor has windows all along it, so walking out of the bedrooms you face narrow floor to ceiling windows, which has a central courtyard.

Central corridor

You can imagine the apartment building as a large O, with a central courtyard.  What this means is there’s lots of light bouncing around all the white external walls.  It also means you get a show from all the other apartments! I can tell you the ground floor neighbours use their loggia as a study and a gym, complete with weights and foam matting.  My upstairs neighbour has an elaborate cat climbing thingie, but great ferns in other windows.  Another neighbour has found this heat means he seldom wears a shirt…  See what I mean!

Once inside the ‘true’ apartment, this is teh view (the loggia is behind me

Right, so back to the this loggia.  The loggia runs the width of the apartment – from the central courtyard to the exterior building wall.  At each end is a hinged bi fold door, which are HUGE – I’d estimate at least 2m by 3m tall?  So with both open, you get a great breeze through.  All other windows in the apartment are hopper style – which is very safe for small climbing toddlers (there are none as current residents).  They aren’t as great for getting air in and around the apartment, but better than nothing.

The loggia as the dining table location – the table is pretty weather proof, the chairs less so!

The apartment is also airconditioned – ducted through out.  Sadly, as this is clearly ‘on budget’ for a development, it’s not zoned, so it’s all on, or all off, which seems overkill when I didn’t have a flatmate, or when we’re sleeping.  It also doesn’t have a timer.  And… for those followers on my personal Facebook, the centralised components of the air conditioning in the building has ALREADY had issues, even though the building isn’t even 6 months old.

Opps, a ceiling hole!

The air conditioning isn’t the only sigh that there’s been corners cut in this building – two ‘exit’ signs have fallen out of the ceiling.  I can wiggle the exterior door handle to the garage and easily get access without my keys.  I’m so pleased I’ve not bought the place, that’s for sure.  I really think this has been built for people to buy off the plan, and largely for investors to rent out.  I might be wrong, but… well we’ll see.

To there’s some candid shots of my new place – I’ve now hung all the art, and sometimes I even clean up! Actually – I find my flatmates is tidier then me, which is a lovely blessing.

Cosmetic, toliteries and places I could declutter more

Some may recall a time when I was a prolific blogger.  A single-don.  I blogged about what was in my bathroom drawers.  Naturally, it was a titillating post that took the internet by storm.  A few years later. In my local readership of blogs, being An Exacting Life and Declutterer.  So you know, worldwide sensation.

I have returned to share with the shared (but mainly my stuff) contents of the bathroom cupboards, drawers and surrounds.

Bath surrounds

Daily use
Daily use

 

SO we have
– 2 shampoo bottles (BF not good as ‘using the last of’ apple shampoo)
– 2 solid shampoo bars
– 1 conditioner
– 2 face washes (Cetaphil) – one inverted so it’s almost dead
– 1 make up remover
– 2 body washes (L’Occitane Rose and Body Shop Camomile)
– 2 razors

Pretty much the sum of my frustration – so many ‘two of’ items.  The two shampoo bars?  I thought the red one was aggravating my psorasis, plus it smelt like ‘burnt trees’ to the BF (tar based).  So both are used interchangabley, though the preferred one is a little too damp atm and therefore more ‘soupy’ than bar.  And I’m using ‘the last little bit’ of the bottle shampoo that the BF  John West rejects (…makes John West the best, and Sarah frustrated!!)

2 face washes – it’s the Mary Poppins of face washes I tell way. The make up remover is circa 2007 or 2008 and a few pumps from retirement.  Given I use it once a fortnight or less, you can see it’s life is long.

Body wash – once it was a gift from a non-bath having friend (alas, I use it as a body wash).  We loved the regifted bottle, I’ve bought it since DESPITE the Rose body wash living strong – it’s on it’s last legs and needs water to dilute the thick sludge due to evaporation.  It is effective for countering water polo smell though!

Two razors – BOTH blunt.  The man handled one has more blades, and I’m opting that way, pink tax and all.  But I don’t want to trash the other handle either, so there it’s stayed.

Well that’s a post in itself.  Now for all the storage!

Most used items
Most used items

Left to right

Hair box containing errant make up, cotton bud box (to refill canister), spray wash off bronzer

Hair dryer, head band, errant pendant and ring, chunky gold necklace, errant blush

Empty ‘extra razor’  tray, open coconut oil (better at eye make up removal), mug with eye liners and mascaras and a whiteboard marker for marking weigh in weights on the mirror

Ice cube tray of earrings (including some without a pair), foot balm at the front, and a ‘keyboard cleaning brush’ stashed in the bathroom for vent cleaning

Seldom used items
Seldom used items

This is the lesser used drawer generally though the bottom right hand side gets worked out as our medicine cupboard.

Across the top (back) of the drawer there is

– zip lock bag with two sunscreens and Moov natural insect repellent for tropical/summery holidays
– strapping tape
– loo roll in ‘easy to reach’ location
– Old El Paso jar with solid deodorant circa… 2009? maybe earlier?
– hand wash refill (inverted)
– band aids
– leave in conditioner
– make up palette circa teenage years from Grandma?

The make up palette hides more! The less often touched items:

the lesser touched
the lesser touched

Inside the travel stuff box we have

Grab and go
Grab and go

Designed to ‘grab and go’
– ballet case: mini shampoo, mini conditioner, mini face wash, mini spray (eww) deo, toothbrush, toothpaste… etc?
– back left: travel slippers (great on planes!)
– back right: travel pillow with ear mask and ear plugs
Also in the box is a Brisbane travel card, a map of Paris metro and a watch I wear on long haul flights only.

And lastly, the two mirrored cabinets:

Bigger shared cupboard
Bigger shared cupboard

Top shelf = boy stuff
Middle shelf:
– 2 perfumes
– 2 foundations
– 1 deodorant
– cotton buds
– face moisturiser
– tooth floss picks (for the BF

 

Bottom shelf:
– 2 toothpastes (one is sensodyne)
– plate for teeth grinding
– floss
– my vitamins

 

Skinny seldom used cupboard
Skinny seldom used cupboard

Girls stuff and a yoghurt container of nail polisher remover etc.

Mainly, I’m overwhelmed.  There’s just too much, but I don’t want to throws things out.  Using it up seems to take milleniums!  So many ‘two of’.  I can count on the same fingers I seldom paint, how many times I’ve painted my nails… It’s almost MORE important to have remover to me, than to have the polish!  And the ‘girl products’ – I’ve gone green there, and this is no place for ‘just in case’ (a handbag or work would be!)

Le sigh – suggestions given a shelter or work aren’t viable (I can’t find a shelter and man based workplace)?

I went shopping and I didn’t buy…

This past weekend, the BF did his pre-learner’s bike course and seeing my mother was busy, I took the time to exercise via window shopping.

I get a LOT of satisfaction from taking snaps of things I like.  I don’t need to buy them.  Just browsing the items, and then sharing them is enough.  For local readers, I’ve included the vendor in the captions, should you be a buyer not a browser 😉

Freedom offered three of the little boxes as a package.  I cant imagine theyd look grown up though
Freedom offered three of the little boxes as a package. I cant imagine they’d look grown up though

Parking lot distraction...
Parking lot distraction…

So I told you I had a thing for lughts, right?
So I told you I had a thing for lughts, right? (Freedom)

If I smash anymore of my current loved glasses, Freedom can help
If I smash anymore of my current loved glasses, Freedom can help

Alternative blue glasses as replacements
Alternative blue glasses as replacements

Fantastic furniture isnt know for stellar quality, but the sheen of the teal was alluring with the glass bade
Fantastic furniture isn’t know for stellar quality, but the sheen of the teal was alluring with the glass bade

Art I loved - Coco Republic isnt where one buys art though
Art I loved – Coco Republic isn’t where one buys art though

Boring chair, but I love the fabric - muted but patterned
Boring chair, but I love the fabric – muted but patterned (Freedom)

If I still lived in the loft, these would be GREAT on the big wall!  I'm crushing on gold a bit lately, you'll see
If I still lived in the loft, these would be GREAT on the big wall! I’m crushing on gold a bit lately, you’ll see (Freedom)

If I was to have bar stools, Id like them to be like this. Coco Republic
If I was to have bar stools, Id like them to be like this. Coco Republic

Gold crush - totally for looks Dommayne)
Gold crush – totally for looks Dommayne)

So thats everything I didnt buy. And I didn’t even get any good fatty snacks (there were none around).  I did get blisters from my shoes, but nothing I can’t handle.

Do you window shop, or is it just too hard?

Black white and gold

So a while ago, I think I mentioned I was planning a spectacular 60th for my mother.  I saw this inspiration picture on BetterAfter:

Pretty right? via
Pretty right?
via

With that in mind, my mum and I worked on a spectacular celebration with her friends and children. And we went literal, unlike Lindsay who went with an interpretation:

Lindsey's table
Lindsey’s table

So let me start with the hallway:

The were LED tea lights (about the ONLY time I'd tolerate single use plastic tea lights!)
The were LED tea lights (about the ONLY time I’d tolerate single use plastic tea lights!)

Some recent TV show inspired the vase of tulips (50!) and you see the gold on the door - it had a big gold bow on it!
Some recent TV show inspired the vase of tulips (50!) and you see the gold on the door – it had a big gold bow on it!

Now for THE table

Hand written menus for individual choices
Hand written menus for individual choices

Unlike the inspiration, we went for some flowers on the table:

Hand made by me
Hand made by me

How would people know where to sit? Solved that with a US purchase in Jan of a special little pen for writing on glass and porcelain:

Simon says sit here!
Simon says sit here!

Now all the rest of the shots I just wanna share for sharing’s sake:

Seems similar right?
Seems similar right?

Ready for a feast
Ready for a feast

Lastly, the cake (apologies for the fugitive-ly taken photo in the car, lest we have an accident and mum never see it!):

Yummy inside and out!
Yummy inside and out!

Overall, I LOVED planning for this – I hand sewed the white ribbon onto all the napkin rings, which was definitely the most intense part.  But I love hand sewing.  Everything was perfect, I’m told, and I was pretty happy with how things turned out. I realise the part of ‘entertaining’ I stress about is the food – everyone being happy and full and eating.  If that’s outsourced, I love the rest of it (Which isn’t to say I don’t like baking, but it’s like baking or event coordination, not both).

So I’m available for hire 😉 You pay bills (I covered the flowers in the end, mainly cause I wanted free reign – there was another HUGE bouquet in the kitchen you didn’t get a photo of cause I forget which was Birthday Girl’s request on our market trip).

Party planner instead of engineer? Maybe… just maybe!