Glaring Grocery discovery

The past week or two, I’ve felt the pinch of my savings goals, and finding it harder to ‘do everything’ with my pay cheque. It also came to my attention that I had another month’s batch of grocery receipts to process (I started tracking in December 2012), so I got onto that today. I’ve stated that my goal is to cook two meals a week, which equates to about 6 serves or more (2 dinners + 4 lunches at the very least). And mostly I’ve been achieving that.

One thing that’s clear – the pressure in my money management is not from home cooked meals! Now this should be no surprise, but I do feel like I’m in IGA all the time. All the servers know me, and almost know that I don’t want a bag, and on Wednesday, I’ll always want cash out. What I find most amazing is that my MONTHLY spend on groceries was 2.9% of my take home pay in December and 3.52% in January (I assumed a simple 4 week month as I get paid weekly). This is incredibly low, given that after shelter (which in Sydney you pay incredibly HIGH amounts for), food should pretty much come next (up there with electricity and running water I suppose).

I haven’t tracked my eating out spend since October, so I can’t confidently say what it is. (I think I stopped when I started dating… cause you eat out a lot more, but the expense is lumpy as to who pays and when etc). I could easily spend 12-16% of my pay cheque on eating out. **In some ways, this is totally out of line with my parents or many people out there. It seems ‘easy’ to go out for dinner. I think we feel entitled (my generation). Or we need only a small excuse. I realise eating out should really be seen as a luxury**

I probably miss most of the my meat consumption (which isn’t extensive) in these two months, as my butcher doesn’t give me a receipt. For Feb, I’ve started marking up the grocery receipt with what I spent on meat.

(in rough numbers, my mortgage has been taking up about 43% of my take home pay, and household bills (strata, electricity, gas and water) & health insurance take up about 15.5%).

EDIT: This post was inspired by Part 2 of the Spender to Saver series that Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily was writing.  Then by magic, Part 3 came out (after this post) and couldn’t have been more spot on.  I only wish I could work out how to comment on her blog!!

Completed Bucket List items


– Hot air balloon (Dubai 2012)

Hot air ballooning
– Hang glide (fixed – Tasmania, freely – Wollongong 2011?)
– Sky dive (Wollongong 2010?)
– Helicopter ride (New York City 2011)
– Bungee jumping (really a canyon swing, but similar and less impact on the body 2005)
Go gliding June 2016
– Go zorbing (all the blue things are on my 12 in 2 list!) Apr 2015
– Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!) done 2015/16
– Ride a segway planned Aug 2016
– Fly on a trapeze June 2015
– Go jet skiing  (on the 12 in 2 list) Dec 2013 and I saw dolphins
– Go cave diving <- went canyoning and walked in caves in March 2016
– Go white water rafting – real rapids, not the ones we built in Sydney for the Olympics
– Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge June 2014
– Go zipling – 2015 did it in Phuket

– parasailing

– ride an ATV


– Get a floristry certification 2009

Wedding flowes
Flowers for a friend’s wedding

– Get a motorcycle licence (for a scooter) 2009
– Learn to play cello 1995-2002
– Learn to play trombone 2001-2002
44. Learn to surf Jan 2015 wouldn’t say I ‘learnt’ but ‘tried’


I’m lucky to have nomadic, travel loving parents, so up until 2005, they covered the cost. 2006 was on my own dime. India was at their inspiration. I have left off some of the smaller European destinations (BE-LUX – NE made it in, Andorra)

– Visit New Caledonia – 1988?
– Visit Tokyo (overnight) – 1992 & Japan 2015
– See the Statue of Liberty – first in 1992
– Visit Hong Kong – 1993
– See the Eiffel Tower – first time in 1993
– Live in France – 1993 & 2006
– Visit Barcelona – 1993
– Live in Vanuatu – 1995-1998 (went to boarding school in Brisbane)
– Visit Auckland NZ – 1995/6?
– Visit Bangkok – first in 1996? (my parents LOVE the place!)
– Visit Laos – 2004?
– Visit New Orleans – ?? 1997?
– See the Colosseum – 2006
– Visit Prague – 2006
– See the Pyramids – 2006
– Visit Venice – 2006
– Visited concentration camps (Aushwitz) – 2006
– Visit Singapore (overnight) – 2008
– Visit Germany – 2008
– See the Taj Mahal – 2008
– Visit Cuba – 2009
– Visit Canada (Montreal) – 2009
– Visit Bahamas – 2009
– Sail the Greek Isles – 2010
– Visit Amsterdam – 2010
– Visit Chicago – Summer 2011 & Winter 2016
– Visit Israel – 2011
– Visit Dubai – 2012
– Visit Morocco – 2012
– Visit all major Australian Captials (Brisbane – birthplace, Sydney – current home, the most recent ones were Alice Springs/Ayres Rock in 2011, Adelaide in 2009, Perth in 2011, Hobart in 2009.  Darwin ain’t major… so not been there yet!)

– Visit Portland, Oregon – 2015 go to the donut place, eat at places mentioned here, shop and eat here.
– Visit San Fransisco – see the Golden Gate Bridge Jan 2015 & Feb 2016
– Visit Russia – see the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, the Bronze horseman, Aug 2016
– Visit Bosnia/Romania – visit Sarajevo Aug 2016
Visit Vietnam Oct 2013
– Ride the bullet train in Japan Jul 2014


– Attend Olympic Games – 2000 for water polo (which I still play, and in the SAME Sydney Olympic pool!) and volleyball (which I did play)
– See penguins in the wild – 2005

– See the Tour de France live  – 2006
– Fly business class long haul (one way Paris – Dubai – Sydney)

Business class

– Go paint balling
– Try acupuncture (regularly!)

– Try cupping
– Donate Blood
– Swim in the dead sea
– Visit Disneyland (Euro in 1994 and US style in 1996 I think)
– 100% debt free (credit card debt) – I never really wasn’t though!
– Go skinny dipping (we had a back yard pool as kids)
– Learnt to use chop sticks (enforced from a young age!)
– See Cirque du Soleil Show
– Order room service (ah, work trips!)
– Make a gingerbread house Dec 2013
– Try a pilates reformer
– Complete a half marathon  July 2014
– Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise) Jan 2016
– Zero Gravity yoga 2015
– Go floating 2015
– Hot stone massage 2015
– Go stand up paddle boarding
– Reiki massage 2015
-Pay for someone else’s groceries (I LOVE this one, thanks Jun 2013

– Get a fish pedicure


– Buy a scooter – 2010
– Buy an (gorgeous) loft apartment by myself – Dec 2011!
– Own a luxury European vehicle (BMW, Audi or Mercedes)

12 in 2 list

Extra Organised is a blog I used to read, lost and have refound…  As is often the case, other people’s posts inspire my own, and so without further ado, I shall too make a list of 12 goals to achieve in 2 years.  I have linked above to her specific post.  Sadly for me I can’t comment on this blog (or any typepad blogs) which makes me sad, but hopefully the link will alert her to my interest!

1. Dinner at Quay – done in January for my birthday.  They have the menu online so you can all ooo and ahhh

2. Dinner at Aria – next birthday seems like a good idea!

3. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – might just happen this month with a Norwegian friend in town.  Otherwise, the BF and parents are getting sick of it being on the gift list so…


4. Go jet skiing

5. Go Zorbing (likely on the Gold Coast) The Gold Coast site shut up shop, so to NZ it might be!

6. Visit Lexi in NZ – if I don’t put this on a list, I know I won’t make it a priority.  And NZ is oh so close to Sydney, I’m not sure why I can’t just DO IT!

7. Do a knife skills course – for cooking of course

8. Learn to surf – I have a friend who seems to be into the idea of doing a camp style adventure!

9. Read the new testament – thought I’d down grade from ‘whole bible’.  I want to ACHIEVE these goals not get down that they are too hard! See my progress

10. Go on a silent retreat – people who know me will wonder.  A friend has done it, so I have an ‘in’

11. Run a half marathon – this is really putting it out there! Anything that’s money based, I seem to have the commitment, but health and fitness, not so much! (Update 1)

12. Plan and prepay my funeral – morbid, but then people call these bucket lists!

To be honest, I struggled with this list.  I feel like I have to have achievable goals.  Things I can actually DO!  Some of my goals aren’t that short term… some are just having stuff (silliness personified!)  And travel destinations (whilst I have one or two) don’t really excite me the way I wish they coulda/shoulda/woulda.  It helps that I’ve been privileged to tick off so many travel based goals I see on other bucket lists – maybe I’ll post of all the bucket style stuff I have already done?

What’s your 12 in 2?

Zero waste home (or the truth about my garbage)

Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, I thought I’d speak a little more on my aim to be ‘zero waste‘.

Firstly, when I moved into my own place, I bought a Bokashi bucket.  Interestingly, both my local friends also ‘bokashi’ their food scraps.  Alas, both of those couples have gardens.  I do not.  So I need to find a home for my ‘compost’ periodically – either taking it to my parents (and I fear I’ll accidently drive like a maniac and the contents will spill in my car!), or offer it on freecycle.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

Whilst I like having next to no ‘wet’ waste other than that the Bokashi contains, I’m not 100% behind the Bokashi experience.  It does smell a fair bit, which means every time I open the lid, or drain the liquid (which I then put down the sink as advised).  I wish it was all just a little more pleasant for me!

I also recycle all paper, glass, aluminium and plastic that’s suitable in our council area.

In order to limit my waste I

– use the butcher for meats (I take an ice cream container).  Sadly, meat trays from the super market are not recyclable in our area, even though the materials themselves are 🙁

– buy bulk occasionally – however, I have to take a bus, which is far more planning that the block to the grocery store.  However, where my ingredients come in plastic, my preference is the co-op.  Except, they have EXHORBITANTLY priced chocolate bits (which I use in brownies v v regularly), so I try to get my friends to grab some when they are at Costco.

– refuse – every time I get junk mail from companies I use, I ring them and ask them to stop.  I also have a no junk mail sticker, but it seems take away menus and apartment sales flyers still end up being deposited 🙁

– return – where I get a container such as my chinese medicine, I take it back to them to reuse the container.

– solid shampoo – way simplier in my opinion.  Solid conditioner leaves a lot to be desired, so I just cut my hair off (ok that wasn’t the reason!)

What ends up in the trash?

– Plastics!!! They drive me nuts.  My new work uniforms come with a plastic bag – I try to reuse that as a bin liner.  The ring pulls in some milk cartons.  The little foil/plastic caps on juise bottles

– My choc chip packets from IGA often end up in there – as did the dried apricots I buy for the BF.

– Broken rubber bands from herbs and vegies (I collect the intact ones, but my collection is exceeding my needs!).

– Butter wrappers – whilst I keep them on hand to grease tins, I can’t endlessly stockpile them.

– Cotton buds (or Q tips) – a habit Bea at suggests I break, but it’s not happened yet!

– Tissues – when I use them (ie when I’m sick)  I think the quantity is far too high to add them to a composting system.  And again, on quantity, it’d be A LOT of hankichiefs!

– Blister packs from tablets – almost everything we get here is in a box and a blister pack, rather than a bottle like in the US.

Rubber bands
Cotton Buds
Source: cellonline.ordg

If I’m honest, a large reason for my elaborate system (composting, sorting recycling from trash etc), is because I’m lazy – I don’t want to have to take out stinky waste too often.  Twice a week, the bins aren’t even in the bin room, they are out on the street, which is even more hard work.  (amusingly, my apartment is physically the closest to the bin room and the street side pick up – just getting there is convoluted!)

I plan to continue to track what I produce in non recyclable waste, and look at how I can continue to reduce it.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t all get too hard!

Attention to detail

I still have my Grade 2 report card.  They were on thick yellow card, and came with pretty line drawings of different skills.  There was of course place for some comments.  Naturally a report card is as much about reporting progress to parents, as it is finding room to grow and improve.  Like life really – it comes with feedback loops.  And it’s great to never be done (ok, who am I kidding, I love a to do list that’s achieved, with countless lines through all the tasks….)  but there IS always more to be done, or more to improve on.

Of course, I couldn't find THE comment on the report cards I could put my hands on...
Of course, I couldn’t find THE comment on the report cards I could put my hands on…

And today, and for the past few weeks, and back to Grade 2, I’ve needed greater attention to detail.  I’m not sure in what task my lack of attention presented itself in grade 2, but the comment was ‘Sarah shouldn’t be in such a rush to finish her work, and should use her time to review her work’.  Wowzas.  As true now, 20 years on, as it was the year it was written.

The key to me is finding out WHY I rush my work, so I don’t do it as much, or as often.  I know that I don’t spend hours proofing blog posts (I’m not sure if that shows, to you, the readers).  I just don’t get any joy in ‘checking’ what I big headedly assume I of course would have done correctly the first time.  And so often you reread things and your mind plays tricks – it puts the word in that you missed, or it rearranges the letters to make the work you meant to write.  And I assume that the reader is smart, and will ‘work it out’

Work it out?

Where’s the respect for your reader?

Why can’t I do my ‘job’ properly?  In my work, I don’t ‘write’ in the same sense.  It’s not prose.  I write documentation with specific rigid language, and I attach diagrams to support what I’ve written.  It seems simple, and with *attention to detail* I could cross check every part of one against the other.  Instead, it seems that I send them along in the chain, and this lovely fellow with a truly unique name, politely lets me know of all the changes I need to make (or he’s generously made on my behalf).  He’s never angry.  He never (appears to) lose his patience.  If I was him, I would have.  A L-O-N-G time ago.  Because 80% of the time, his feedback is something I knew, in some dark recesses of my mind.  In my once over, I didn’t remember that a certain symbol should accompany that change.  Or that something is “always” orientated that way for that type.

How do I never make the same mistake twice?  I could simply record all the mistakes I make.  But the key is to REVIEW this list with every submission (and there’s a few a week on average).  I have made lists of mistakes, a checklist of the more commonly forgotten things.  But it doesn’t seem to be lessening the ‘attention to detail’ mistakes.

All I can do is try to improve my ‘mistake-o-meter’.  I shall try to more rigourously track each one I make and then at least I’ll know how often I’m making the mistake of the same type…

In sickness…

And to improving health!  I’ve been off work most of the week with a cold, as I’m a big believer that rest is the cure to almost all things.  And as per my mother’s strict childhood guidelines, I spent at least the first half of the day in bed.  I was so thankful to have printed out a chicken and chickpea soup a while back, so that I could rustle it up on Tuesday (after my lovely dad dropped by a chicken, as my local grocer doesn’t offer them).  However, my humble home does not have internet.  I have my phone, so I can check my emails and facebook, but I don’t really read recipes, or blogs or the like, from my phone.  It’s just too hard.  So thus the radio silence.


In that time, the lovely Dar at anexactinglife nominated me for an award (two awards, one award with two names, I’m totally not sure). Nonethless, I’m so honoured, given I’m such a new blog (though a long time commenter on a number of blogs – well a long time for me!)  So thank you so much for the kind link!

The rules of the award are listed at the bottom of the post, but I shall continue forth with it’s prescriptions here.  Now it’s time for 7 things about myself

1. I have a degree in engineering and arts in international studies.  I also have a Cert II (and almost a Cert III but I didn’t finish the work experience requirements) in Floristry

2. I’m not an animal LOVER (to be clear, I’m not a hater either, I’m just pretty ambivalent)

3. I used to collect birdcages – I just love the structure and form.  However, I downsized from 7 to 3-4 and am looking to suspend them from my double height ceiling in a little corner.  How I’ll do this remains a challenge with a concrete ceiling!

4. People always find me contradictory – not what I say, but who I am and what my values are.  I can’t for the life work out how or why though!

5. I can’t help but always try to divide this by that – so if someone says ‘I saw 56 movies in 4 years’ I try to work out how many a year etc etc… it’s just instinct!?

6. I go to church every week, almost without fail.  But I keep my faith, otherwise, very private.

7. I really do not have a plan in life – either career or personal life.  Despite being ‘a planner’ and being organised, I’m a little unsure of what and when.  On Saturday, a childhood friend of my brothers mentioned she sees a fortune teller when she’s at a crossroads in her life, and I’m starting to think maybe I should give that a whirl.  Even if they are only telling me what they think I want to hear, I’m curious to know what this person might think I want to hear!

Now for my ten nominees (who I TOTALLY do not expect to jump through the hoops if they don’t want to – it’s surely as much about increasing people’s awareness of different blogs out there!)  Sadly some blogs I loved have disappeared from my ‘bookmarks’ and I’ve lost them forever 🙁 If only I had a better memory!

1. 71toes : A lovely SAHM who inspires me with her love and happiness.  Her children are also totally gorgeous (and she’s an awesome photographer).  One day, I hope I’ll have as delightful a family!

2. My 1/2 dozen daily: such a prolific sewer and blogger, and incredibly frugal but upbeat.  No matter how many times she writes that she lives in Canada, I still think she’s in England – brain malfunction!  Sadly I can’t comment on this type of blog – some Google Chrome/Typepad interface issue 🙁

3. 365 less things: This is where my daily appeite for blog reading started.  I’ve been lucky to meet Colleen in person, and whilst we’re a generation apart, reading her blog helped me declutter to simplify my move from my parents place to my own.  And I love Cindy’s guest posts every Wednesday.

4. Young House Love: A DIY family blog that seems to be #1 worldwide!  Ok, perhaps not, but they seem to pop up everywhere, and they are often my first post read for a day.

5. Clover Lane: Another SAHM who I found due to her decluttering efforts.  Again, I just love a snapshot into other family’s lives, especially big families

6. A blog about love: Some how I tripped and found this delightful blog – reading their ‘story’ through their emails back and forth are just amazing (and maybe make me reflect on a little less amazing life), but still, it’s like an epic love story!

7. Zero Waste Home: As the name suggests, an amazing Franco-American family who have a ridiculously small eco footprint with waste.  I’m inspired by them, and continue to wonder just how I could be more like them.

8.  Go Gingham: Well she shares my name (if not spelling) and is wonderfully home made, no nonsense mum.  She really is a perfect balance of pragmatism and fun, with responsibility for the earth thrown in there.

9. Reach Financial Independance: A lovely French personal finance blogger (who write in English) living in South America.  She’s inspired a few of my recent posts on money.

10. Penelope Bell: A bright and cheery country ‘girl’ (she’s my age, we’re still girls right?)  for rural Queensland, Australia who is an incredible artist and fashion designer.  She always brightens my day with her beautiful posts and sometimes an accompanying water colour.

And that marks a diverse collection of blogs I enjoy reading!

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post. **I hope this just means the images?!**
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs. **I really don’t want to pester people with this ‘chain’ style thing…. hmmm***

Goals Update – January

Today is my Birthday! yay…  Well, it’s just another day, but I did start late as I needed to meet a tradesperson at home (working on something on my house project list).  Now my bath is smoother, and I’ve been advised to clean it with washing up liquid.  As to the colour appearing yellow – might try changing the light globe (I’m assured it is WHITE!)


I didn’t put a goal to make my mortgage repayments – cause to me, that’s a given and it has to happen.  However, I am aiming to pay an extra $5k (as permitted by the terms of my fixed rate/term loan).  As such, I’m trying to ‘overpay’ asap, as the sooner I get my ‘extra’ money onto the mortgage, the more I’m saving in interest. And the sooner I can start on all the other goals below!

$20k target by 22 Dec: start of month: $13,487.55.  End of month: $14,119 at 30/1/13 – should be $14,249 by 31/1/13.  Well on track

However, this is about to take a BIG hit, as outlined above.  It will take between $3-4k out of this account.  Hopefully it will slightly lower my interest added to my mortgage (and by the same token, I’ll pay a touch less take on the interest I might have earnt if it was in savings)

Generosity target of at least $100 per week (weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 – $175: church ($25) + belated xmas gift ($150)
week 2 –  $140: charity donation ($100) + church ($20) + Big Issue ($20)
week 3 – $80-$180: church ($20) + Brother loan ($100) + gift ($60) *loan may be repaid… so a ‘bad’ week* (3 hours volunteering)
week 4 – $125: church ($45) + Red Cross ($80) (+3hrs volunteering)

Bills savings of $200 per week:  totally automated, so yep, meeting that!  Cept I did (of course) withdraw to pay the contents insurance and water bills. Oh and I found I had close to $500 more than I needed in my fund for my annual health insurance premium, so I’m moving that to the higher interest account and putting it towards the $20k goal (rest assured, for the next few months, I’ll drip feed this health insurance fund to ensure I cover any inflation in premiums, but I have a few months yet).


Cook at home twice a week: almost, but not quite met

week 1 – Wednesday (Fried rice) & Sunday (carbonara)
week 2 -once on Thursday night (chorizo potato salad) & Sunday (Cabbage salad with pear)
week 3 – Steak, packet potatos, hot cabbage & strawberry Souffle & Wed (spaghetti carbonara (which I’ve only JUST learnt how to spell!))
week 4 – Friday I made some polenta, and some cookies for a party.  SO, no that’s just one meal

Sugar – fail!  Chocolates on Mon, ice coffee Tue (did say no to icecream on Mon night… that counts in some regard!), choc chips on Thu night. I think I stopped tracking after this. Actually this ‘healthy eating’ is SO much more challenging with an ice cream monster in my midst – although I settle for a mouthful or two of his, it’s breaking my willpower!

Train for polo – fail. But yay for season break. If I was more dedicated, I’d do a swim session.  But I’m not.  But at least I’m not wasting a coach’s time.  Alas, one from two at this stage (the third wasn’t on as Monday was a public holiday).


2 films a month: Acheievd. Saw Rise of the Gaurdians on Sun 30th (technically in week 1), and Jake Reacher on Mon 7th Jan.  Tom Cruise is a meglomaniac! I’d have seen something else with different company, but nonetheless, wasn’t too horrible and I was curious to see it. Last night I used my almost expired movie voucher to see The Impossible.  I had to pay for the date’s ticket – so cheap on a Tuesday! I’d like to see Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook (not yet out here).

2 books a month: Achieved. Worked through ‘Freakanomics’ by SD Levitt and SJ Dubner – if only I had a better memory I could recall some better stats in social situations.  Like how or why drunk walking is more dangerous than drunk driving.  Also read ‘Obedience’ by J. Yallop – a dark book, and slow moving, but I liked it.


Certification:  Gold star for effort: First, I filled in the webpage, so my work has 14 days to approve my costs to get certified.  Simple step (save for uploading a photo – WHY?), and then I’ll really have to put my head down.  It just takes small steps and this one was easy – I even had momentum to do more, but sadly the site hindered that!  <– Alas, this was all in vain I quickly found out.  So I decided to divide and conquer the task – there’s 16 x 700 words episodes to write.  So I divyed up the tasks between myself and four colleagues.  That way we could manage our three ‘episodes’ and come together in a fixed time period to reflect and enhance each other’s writing.  And hopefully inspire us to embark on our remaining 13!  I did get two fanatastic episodes fleshed out, under the word limit, almost simultaneously as I got an email saying the payment we get for doing this are now coming irrespective of our action (or inaction), whilst negotiations continue between our employer and unions about our award.  Still it feels good to have started – as there’s every chance I might need them again once the union/work fights are resolved.

I’m starting to think I don’t like my un-measurable goals (or more to the point, my career goals!)- and can see me saying for months ‘no progress here’ – but maybe that shame will spur me into action?

Things I’d like to be…

I’d like to be (inspired by you Dar)

– a zero waste (landfill) home.  But I eat large single serve cookies from the vending machine when I’m hungry.  And buy the half cabbage wrapped in cling wrap (cause a whole cabbage is a whole lot of cabbage for one little lady!)

– sugar free. Ever been hungry and walked into a cafe? It’s SO hard to find a savoury snack!  And then your sweet chili sauce of course also has sugar in it, but I don’t do ‘chili’ really, so I can’t substitute.  This is mainly a weight management strategy (and an exercise avoidance tactic!)

– wheat free. Again, ever been hungry and tried to find something that is neither sugary nor wheat-y?  Potato chips for the win.  Likewise corn chips.  Fruit salad.  But that vending machine just haunted me. (let me be clear, I’m not celiac (heck I can’t spell it!) but I do try to keep my intake low to lessen my psoriasis)

– lactose free. I’m trying to limit lactose for the same reasons as wheat.  And I heard about the plight of cows, always birthing and boy cows dying.  But really, sometimes I am weak in the face of cheese.

– freecycler. If only people would take my stuff! (at least the most recent stuff  – I need a good home for oodles of bubble wrap).  I stopped reading the posts so I could be more of the below:

– anti consumer. But I really wanted a teal throw rug for summer as the winter one is itchy.  And if I waited 10,000 years I may find one in a second hand store, but then I’d need to not work and spend time thumbing through stores and checking ebay and gumtree

– minimalist. No stuff for stuff’s sake.  Alas, I have trinkets from travellers, and whilst i could part with them (no emotional heart strings), I don’t want my home to be TOO sterile!  Concrete floors are more than a good start down that path!

– public transport user. I’m SO reluctant to get a car, cause I know it’d be easier than choosing to walk or to catch a train or a bus.  But that work car often finds itself dropping off or picking up within walking distance of places (home and work namely!)

– debt free.  I only have my mortgage, and pay of any credit card debt weekly.  But still NO debt, wow that’d be awesome!

– make-from-scratch’er/no packaged food.  I can cook, but sometimes laziness comes to stay and she orders packaged garlic bread – complete with the icky plastic baggy!  And a rice cracker is so much easier than making or finding a recipe for a gluten free, sugar free snack!

– recycler.  I am, and I couldn’t be otherwise.  But today my take away coffee cup went in landfill, even though the lid and (clean) cardboard cup could be recycled (if I’d washed them well enough and kept them til I found the bin I needed).  I should have used my ‘keep cup’.

It’s not ‘all that I am’ but ‘all that I’m almost’…

Make a list of house projects – January Cure @ Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy dropped off my radar (probably the n’th time Chrome lost all my bookmarks to be honest) but now that I have re-found it, I’m oh so delighted for their January theme!  Day 1 was Make a list of projects

Well you don’t need to tell this girl twice!  But I thought I might share January 2012’s list, then May 2012’s list and today’s list.  Anything with a ? following it isn’t a definite project, just a thought.  Oh and I’ve listed from recent to less recent lists.  I’d hoped to get some more photos of finished projects, but no such luck.

Today’s list (Jan 2012)


– Empty out box (which means I’ve DONE Day 2 of the cure!)

– Tidy/declutter drawers

– Tidy/declutter shelves

– Install small ledges for displaying things ?


– Regrout corners

– Get bath resurfacing fixed


– Open shelf lighting?

– Pantry lighting?

– Wall art

Living room

– Frosting on the windows

– Replace blinds ?

– Sliding Screen door


– nothing!


– recarpet?

– complete ‘hide the niche’ project

May 2011

I did this in a matrix form – with four boxes – hard and easy, and cheap or $$.  I thought this would give me a better ‘balance’ on what to do, so I didn’t feel like I was leaking money, but still moving forward.

Easy & Cheap

Recolour damaged dining chair legs (easy, just found the product, bought it, rubbed it on)

– New toilet roll holder (it was old and dingey like my soap dish) (impossible to find ‘new’ toliet roll holders that have two mounting points like my existing one – project abandoned)

– New wardrobe handles (why would I have no standard spaced handles? All handles are 96mm apart (from hole to hole), and mine… are 100mm.  I don’t want more holes in my wardrobe that much, so again, abandoned)

Easy & Pricey

– Window screens (in the last month, so Dec, I DIY’ed on for the hopper window.  But I would still like a sliding screen door for the balcony door.  These mosquitoes are KILLING me!)

– New roller blinds (not even attempted)

Rug for living room (This was soon after accomplished, once I found the rug, it was just expenditure!)

– Wine rack (the search continues… the only one I like is this one… all the way in the US)

Hard & Cheap

– Window film (have been in contact for a quote, waiting to hear back now that we’re in the new year)

Perspex sofa arms (Pricier than first expected, so I only got one fabricated, at about $60, but it’s great to have a stable place for a wine glass/plate/laptop or pad of paper.  So pleased I did this)

– Shelves to cover niche (ah… well now there’s not shelves, but a shutter.  But it’s not totally screened yet :s)

Fix damaged corner on ottoman (This was EASY once I got all I needed from the hardware store!)

– Recarpet niche (no movement on this one – seems I lost the carpeter’s number from last year, and finding a handy man for such a small job, impossible.  Carpet comes from mega companies and their minions install it… sigh!)

Hard & Pricey

Curtains in bedroom (really not all THAT pricey – Ikea’s Kvartal system, and existing curtains.  This took so long to get done as I needed to await YHL’s favourite gauzy curtain, the Vivan, to come back in stock.  Then I needed one more velvet curtain, but alas when Ikea got them back in stock they were a different colour and style.  So then I have worked around.

The velvet curtains from my flatting days have returned!
The velvet curtains from my flatting days have returned!

Bed ledge (again, not as $$ as I thought, with a $50 second hand bed and the right hardware and Mr DIY, it was DONE – here’s the post on how!)

The final product
The final product

Bath resurfacing (This was a case of book, and do.  And be disappointed.  It’s just not bright white.  Or smooth)

Install new taps (Just a case of getting the coin together and booking a plumber and a day off – all coincidently the same day as I met a lovely blogger, Colleen Marsden from

Display Hermes scarf (This was a drawn out process, to draw out the cost (ie the framing cost more than the scarf, which was a graduation gift, but getting no wear.  Then operation ‘hang’ – cause it was 10kg with perspex.  Last thing I want is something falling off my wall!)

Safely on the wall (and horrible lighting...)
Safely on the wall (and horrible lighting…)
The scarf in context (complete with Mr DIY's back!)
The scarf in context (complete with Mr DIY’s back!)

Find side table for living room (A closing down antique store I drove past during work one day had just what I needed.  It was $50 I was told.  I was SO pleased to find the $275 sticker when I got home.  See the business was closing down and the caretaker just wanted to move stuff, and we couldn’t find a price on it at the store.  So yay for solid wood, non ikea AND a great steal!)

– Bird cage display (yep, still on the current list – not done)

Jan 2011

Living Room

Choose couches (oh I love these beasts, every time I see them in an ad, I think, wow that’s a LOVELY sofa – and it’s like sitting on a cloud or a hug)

Choose lights and placement (went for an Ikea Maskros PS which I love, and just recently inspired a friend to buy the smaller option)

Choose paint colour (and style – like stripes?) (stripes just seemed too hard, so just went for an all over yellow tinted white, to lighten up my dark apartment)

Choose rug (this took FOREVER as Australia doesn’t really do geometrics, which is all I pined for and saw in the US.  In the end, Ikea came through, in blue tones that I love.  Sad to see it $200 off in the latest sales though)

Collect TV (thanks to friends who have three for two people!)

– Hang or install shelves to display birdcages (still lingering in my mind, but instead of 7 ornamental birdcages, I now have three, so it’s more manageable, but less impactful)

– Steam clean dining chairs (never happened – did try some spot cleaning with isopropyl alcohol)


– Where to store Kitchenaid/grater (wow, big fish to fry – in one of my underutilised cupboards…)

Buy microwave (again, just confirm measurement, and ORDER – simple, and slots into allotted cupboard well (even if I did remove have to remove the door to get the microwave past the hinges!))

Design lighting scheme (thank goodness for being able to see if a dish is clean whilst washing up – this was an amazing project to get finished!)

Fix stove knob (multi stage drama – new knobs didn’t cut it, I also needed a new post, which came with a new regulator.  And then the new knobs didn’t fit on new post properly (so the new knob sits higher than the others.  I’ve ‘settled’ for this – it’s all functional)


Buy washing machine (this was early days – I just needed to decide on brand etc, and order)

Replace damaged tiles (Impossible to find the matching colour, so now have three ‘feature’ mosaic tiles, and they look great.  Admittedly, they aren’t flush cause it was too hard to get the old adhesive and grout out of such a small space without risking more damage.  And then the new tile adhesive/grout combo was stark white, where all the other grout was greyed.  Enter ‘re-grout bathroom entirely’ project, commenced at 9pm one night when work calls meant I was locked out of a concert.  Wow, what a night that was!)

New soap dish (for old scummy uncleanable one) (Such a simple fix!)

Buy new taps (Thanks Aldi, $50 per set was a GREAT deal)

– Build in shelves or a rail (went for a rail option – with tension.  Meant no scary drilling of tiles)

– Mount iron and ironing board (abanonded, turned out to be a bit of effort for little gain – I tuck the ironing board into the space between shelves and the wall, and the iron sits on said shelves)

– Resurface bath (what a shmoozle – did it in July, but entirely unhappy with the colour, texture etc and have followed up with the company, still waiting to hear back after the Christmas holidays)


– Beside tables? (dreamt up a bedhead/ledge idea, and continued to use the cardboard storage boxes used for years prior!)

Paint colours and style (went for the same as the rest of the place)

– Try storing books on railing (nope, they’d fall, and they look untidy to me)

– Shelves to cover niche? (went with some shutters I found in the Op Shop up the road)

– Curtain divider (oh, man alive, does this make SUCH a difference to my sleep… but also impeded the hot air of the loft bedroom escaping.  Not that I regret this decision!)


– Install new tapware (it happened – and then I felt flat, as it seemed the last ‘big job’ on my list!)

– Drippy sink fix (yes, though with two unprofessional attempts and two professional attempts!)

– Attach washing machine (are they required? No they weren’t)

– Install garbage disposal? (nope, decided against this with just one sink)


– Powerpoint near entry (no can do – just too hard!)

– Rafters light in kitchen (semi solution for the kitchen part of rafters area)

– See if old kitchen light location usable (nope, it wasn’t 🙁 )

– Install pendant in either living or dining room (in the end, I got both!)

What I list about…

So here’s a snapshot (sanitised) of my current lists (that I have in electronic form):

– To do: broken into categories: work; day off; awaiting; long term

– BF’s to do list: things he keeps talking about…

– Be more generous: tracking ways I’ve been generous – moving that to this blog currently, in my monthly tracking

– Songs at end 2012: lists the songs I like on the radio/want to download

– Graffiti’d assets: This is a running list of work assets I see when on ‘down’ time that need graffiti attended to.  Bit of a weird habit!

– To google: For sites I can’t access with work’s blocks – weirdly this doesn’t get added to much at all, maybe I don’t need to ‘list’ it anymore

– Holidays (v1): Friends who live out of town that I should go and visit

– Holidays (v2): (predominantly) international destinations I’d like to visit (with time frames on what year and time of year)

– Events/Acitivites: date and other ideas to do with the BF (shush he doesn’t know I list this!)

– Big spending plans: born out of weeks where you could spend 10x you pay cheque and stress out, I just list all the money I plan/want/need to spend in the future – on things like income protection, insurance, funeral plans etc

– Dinner invites: Friends and family I really must invite around, who haven’t yet seen my ‘new’ (year old) place

– Grocery pricing: tracks  costs of regularly bought items at various stores

– Future decluttering: Things I need to get rid of, or are thinking might be on their way out (I need to improve on GETTING THINGS GONE!)

– Decluttered 2012: I was vaguely seeing if I decluttered more than 365 things.  Woeful.  I didn’t.  Keep in mind, I was equipping a house, so it’s not entirely bizarre to think I didn’t get rid of a lot!  There’s 115 line items, but some have multiples, so I’d say there were about 165 things.  But then I also include things that went in trash (which makes me feel uncomfortable), things I returned to stores etc.

– One day jobs: once a huge list that had everything I wanted to around my apartment.  I’m incredibly pleased with my progress!

– Gift ideas: for the BF

– Dimensions: of spaces and things in my apartment, so I know if a wine rack or photo frame fits

– Foods I don’t prefer: wow this list is long… I mean most food I will eat, but I use the ‘dislikes’ to narrow down ordering food out and choosing recipes

– Foods I love to order: this reminds me of the fail safe loves of food (even if they are unhealthy!)

– Countries I’ve visited: a simple count of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit in my so far short life

– Clothing likes and dislikes: this list was born out of shopping frustration (and a hot summer in classes in France!), and is rather detailed!

– Adventures: those crazy ‘sports’ that I’d like to do (incl sky diving and the like)

– Things that make me happy: to pull me out of a funk or brighten a day, it’s nice to revisit this list.  I started it in 2002 I think, on coloured bits of paper, and allowed myself positive and negatives on different sheets.  Over time, I’ve chosen to keep the positive ones only.

There’s a few other lists, that really, I shouldn’t have or I should ‘hide’ better (than being on Gtasks which syncs to my phone), mainly relationship-y stuff…  I also write paper lists at work, for ‘things to do tomorrow’ and the like.  I also write paper lists for myself.  Sometimes it feels better to cross things off…  And get through the MAMMOTH pile of one sided printed paper my work generates.

I think I’m willing to elaborate on lists, should any spark your interest, let me know!