It’s time for a move

As we wrote about recently, we’re building our own website to help people find other people with whom they can stay while travelling, and as part of the promotion of Show your Kids the World! – for that is its name – we’re migrating this blog there. Posts that appeared here (that have to do with travelling as a family) will begin to appear there, so if you’ve been so good as to follow us over the years please update your bookmarks. I intend to write a lot more than I have been doing, which shouldn’t be hard since we’ve tended to slack off with the ol’ blog writing once we’ve stopped actually travelling.

So, see you over on SyKtW!

HelpX Experiment

We’ve done quite a few repairs on our house this year: new gutters, roof repairs, getting the outside painted and, of course, the possum proofing.  It’s been the proverbial money pit. Even still there are things that you put up with, like the windows that don’t close properly and the old paint job.  Once you realise that you have to put the house on the rental market then it’s time to do something about those little things that you’ve been neglecting. Continue reading

Passport Pain

We’ve arrived at the not so fun part of our plans.  Apparently day dreaming of all the wonderful experiences we’re going to have isn’t actually going to get us very far.  There’s the tedious, the painful and the slightly scary that needs to be accomplished first.

Our current pain is passports.  I’ve just returned from a jaunt down to Sydney to apply for my Greek passport.  Apparently the Consulate up here doesn’t have the whizz bang finger printing thingummyjigs.  So the reasonable cost of $126 for a five year passport suddenly became $326 when including the flights.  But I should be thankful that it’s all happening and I’ll soon be swanning around Europe with my EU passport and looking pityingly on the poor souls waiting to get through Customs in the “non-EU” line.

And it will be genuine pity as it is looking increasingly likely that Eoin will be in the non-EU line as he won’t get his passport in time.  Apparently there’s a backlog in processing citizenship applications.  It’s been slightly delayed … a year or so.  I know what you are all thinking – those Greeks and their inefficient bureaucracy. In this case however it’s the feckin’ Irish!  Alex’s citizenship took only two months to process a few years ago and Eoin’s has been there for 12 months.  When we finally do get it then it’ll take another 2-3 months for the passport to be processed.  Considering we hope to leave beginning of March it’ll be cutting it very close.

autumn spring summer winter

On the bright side, I got to wander through the Sydney Botanic Gardens while I was in Sydney and found these lovely statues flanking a staircase.  They were a delightfully charming antidote to the pain.

Dining room done!

Well the dining room is finally finished.  I must admit that it took longer than I thought.  Mainly due to my procrastinating when it came to painting.
I’m pretty happy with the way it came together and as well as the more expensive items I managed to get some bargains and even some freebies.
Lovely Belgian vintage table from Collectors Corner.
 Pine dresser found in shed and painted Chalk Blue.
Japanese fabric bought on our honeymoon at Kinkakuji temple, Kyoto.  It’s taken me 11 years to find a place to put it!
My beautiful new sofa prize from Contempo furniture. So comfy – thanks Contempo!  The ready-to-hang curtains were purchased online from Pret-a-Portiere.  It was a bit on a gamble buying them unseen but they turned out perfect.
Our lovely bookcases were made by Maytain Cabinets.  Not cheap but definitely worth it and it definitely “makes” the room.
The jute rug, french oak dining table and cafe chairs were all puchased through Porchlight Interiors.
Dining room light from Pottery Barn.
Book case lights from Emac & Lawnton.
And finally we carpeted the stairs with jute that (almost) matches the rug.  This wasn’t so much a design thing but more practically to stop the boys from slipping down the stairs when running around in their socks.  Must say though that I’m happy with it now.
So the dining room is all done.  I’ve taken a few weeks off and recovered.  Now it’s onto the boys room….


The only thing I’ve ever won is an esky over 20 years ago, so you must excuse my excitement that I actually won something!

Every now and then I enter an online competition as long as it doesn’t involve the dreaded “In 25 words or less…”.
This time I actually won a gorgeous chair and sofa from Contempo Furniture.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with it. The chair is no problem, there’s lots of places for that but the sofa could be a bit trickier.

It’s a wool-blend in a natural creamy colour – not the best for cat hair and little boys. So I’m really hoping that it’ll fit in our bedroom. It’ll be great to have somewhere to escape to when the boys are watching TV or have their friends over for light-saber fights.

Big thank you to Contempo Furniture and Style Magazines!


Beach Boys

It was off to the beach today. I hadn’t really done anything special with the boys over the school holidays (I’m still working) so I though I’d get in a day trip before school started back on Monday.

So together with the Grandparents we headed off to Broadbeach.

First stop was the awesome kids playground. Crowded (due to its awesomeness) and LOUD as usual.

Looking south from Broadbeach

Escape to the beach where the only noise was the surf and seagulls.

Alex braved the wintery water and had fun jumping the waves. He was on his own as none of the rest of us were brave enough to keep him company.

Eoin sensibly stayed on dry land.

We don’t often get to the beach in winter but today was wonderful. Sure, it was a bit too cold to go swimming but the plus side was that you could sit in the sun and play in the sand for hours without it being unbearably hot and constantly worrying about getting burnt. I love being able to enjoy the winter sunshine rather than having to scurry for cover in the summer.

But most of all, I love seeing the boys running around on the beach, healthy and happy.

Furniture Painting

When we moved into our house we found this old pine buffet in the shed. I must admit that I didn’t give it much thought at first except as a place to store the gardening tools.

excuse the horrible photo..

But I was soon inspired by all the wonderfully talented bloggers out there, especially by Paint Me White. I figured I had nothing to lose but the cost of the paint and (quite) a few hours.
So here is the finished result. I left the original handles on except for the drawers which needed replacing. I painted it ‘Chalk Blue’ by Dulux.

Its new home in the dining room

I’m quite happy with the way it turned out even though my painting left a bit to be desired. I was going to leave the interior display in its natural pine but now I’m having second thoughts. It makes the interior very dark so I was thinking maybe just paint it white.

 Or should I be very daring and paint it a contrasting colour? Any suggestions?

Fabric depicting Kinkakuji temple from Kyoto


Love the ugly

In a previous post I bemoaned the fact that we have the world’s ugliest gas heater and I longed for one of those sleek gas fires.

These last few days however I’ve learnt to love the ugly. It’s been cold and wet and every evening we turn on the heater for a warm and cozy room. Admittedly the rest of the house is still freezing but that doesn’t matter. I can enjoy my cup of tea on the couch toasty warm and bathed in an orange glow.

I feel so shallow for judging my heater for its (lacking) looks. It really is what is inside that counts!


Wintery days

Well, winter has definitely arrived in Brisbane. Cold nights and chilly, windy days have got us all scrambling to find our scarves and jackets.
My slippers fell to bits yesterday and they were only two months old. I suspect the fact they were only $8 had something to do with it. I couldn’t resist this pair yesterday.

Expensive but at least they’ll last a season (and how can you resist leopard print slippers?)

Our new house also has the world’s ugliest gas heater that I’ve had covered up with a beautiful hand woven fabric since we’ve moved in. But I must say the weather has suddenly made it a lot more attractive and is keeping me toasty warm at night. I think we’ll hold onto it and maybe in a few years we can upgrade it to one of those gas fireplaces.

It’s a long weekend this weekend and we’re off for our annual weekend in the countryside. We’re staying in the most beautiful spot in SE Qld (seriously) and I’ll share some photos when we get back. It’s totally secluded – no mobile or tv reception, no neighbours and the nearest shops are 30 mins away at Beaudesert – forced relaxation!

 This is a photo from our last visit there exactly two years ago.  I find it hard to cope with how quickly the boys are growing


Books: Katie Ridder and Ben Pentreath

I’ve just spent a delightful couple of days reading ‘Rooms’ by Katie Ridder. That girl certainly isn’t afraid of making a statement. I did find some of her rooms overwhelming but her combination of colours and patterns are undeniably boldly brilliant.
Here are a few of my favourite rooms.

I particularly love her kitchens.  She is a woman after my own heart, white cabinets, white marble benchtops, french cafe chairs …. perfection.

I love the tiles in this one

In other exciting news one of my favourite bloggers, Ben Pentreath is releasing his book ‘English Decoration’ in September. You can preorder signed copies here.

Ben leads a charmed life in London running a design shop and consultancy. On weekends he escapes to his home in Dorset that is when he’s not working with clients in Scottish castles or houses in Moscow! Yes, I admit that I’m living vicariously through his blog. A highlight is his wonderful photography and the way he finds beauty even in the small or mundane.

Happy reading everyone.