Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Project Extension: Week 2 - So Tired!

After a slow start to project extension week one, week two was a bit more action packed...
We had excavators, we had diggers, we had concrete trucks - what we didn't have was much sleep! I must admit I am missing our lazy starts to the day. The builders start time of 7am is a bit earlier than our, ahem, 9:00am starts that we are used to... We spent the weekend trying to catch up on sleep, but I still feel like I haven't slept for a year today! Still it is only week three today and we have a long time to go, must think of BIG picture - that is my mantra every day.
So what did we get done in a week?
Well the builders excavated the land and boy was there a lot of mess left behind. I sure hope we are getting a skip sometime soon...
The builders also dug the pylons in preparation for the slab to go down. We are hoping that the slab will be poured later on during week 3 - pending weather. This part scares me a little, as we do live in Melbourne after all!!
I cannot wait for the slab to be done, so I can finally get a better idea on just how big the extension is going to be. What I am not looking forward to, is the removal of our lounge and bedroom windows at the same time. If I thought the house was cool at the moment, I think I am in for a big shock come next week...
We also now have temporary fencing blocking all access to the front door, which makes it super fun for the postman to navigate his way to deliver my online shipping buys - not that I am buying a single thing if you are my hubby reading my blog!!
If you have any questions on the extension, please feel free to comment below.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Happy Half Birthday!!

Seriously how on earth can my baby girl be 6 months already?! Last week we celebrated Miss C's half birthday.

And what is a birthday (even a half one) if you can't pop a frock on?! This Sweater Dress has been worn to death and was a $7 Target Clearance Rack number - wish it came in my size.
I know I have said this before, but it honestly feels as though the second time around goes so much faster. I am trying to prepare myself for the next 6 months, as I know how much is going to happen - teeth, crawling, her christening and maybe a bit of walking too.
I wish some days I could rewind and go back to this special day and relive that big surprise over again...

And yup 6 months on, I still can't believe it was a girl!!

Did you find the second (third or forth, maybe fifth?!) time went so much quicker? How do I make it slow down?!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Planning your Spring Clean

Every home needs a spring-clean from time to time, and while it doesn’t have to happen in spring time, you do need to clean and repair your home regularly in order to keep it looking good. Here are some tips to help you plan your outdoor spring-clean this year.
Image Source

Pressure Wash It

A pressure washer will be your best friend in cleaning up the exterior of your home. The water pressure does the hard work so you won’t need to scrub anything. If marks are really stubborn you can add some detergent, or apply clove oil or bleach to mould and mildew before washing. Be careful when cleaning soft woods and other soft surfaces as high pressure cleaners can cause damage.


Check the Roof

Most home-owners have no idea what condition their roof is in. Very often it is a case of out of sight, out of mind, however neglecting your roof could be potentially dangerous to you and your home during storm season. Your exterior spring-clean should include an inspection of your roof. Ensure that roof sheeting is in good condition and check flashing around chimneys and other openings and seal any gaps with roofing cement. Remove any debris that may have blown onto the roof. If you’re not feeling brave enough to venture up onto your rooftop, companies like Roof Masters can do an inspection for you and provide any repairs needed.
Image Source

Give the Gutters a Going Over

Clean leaves, twigs and other debris from gutters. You can do this yourself with a gutter scoop or hire someone to help. Installing a gutter protection system will greatly reduce the need to clean your gutters. By keeping your gutters clean, it will allow water to flow away quickly in wet weather, helping to avoid flooding and also keep gutters in good repair.


Cleaning Windows the Easy Way

Cleaning the windows will give your house a fresh sparkle. While most of us hate cleaning windows it really doesn’t have to be hard work. The old fashioned 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar works really well and crumpled newspaper is still the most effective way to clean and dry windows. Wash windows in the shade so that they don’t dry before they have been cleaned.
Image Source

Screen Cleaning

Insect screens attract dust, so it is important to remove and clean them periodically. You can soak them in a child’s blow up pool or lay them on the lawn and give them a gentle scrub with a soft brush. Thoroughly rinse the screens with the garden hose before replacing them in the windows. If any of your screens are torn or damaged, now is a good time to do repairs. Small holes may be repaired by flattening out the screen fibres and coating with several layers of clear nail polish. If the screen has large tears it will probably need replacing. This can be done by removing the rubber from around the frame and installing a new piece of screen.
Plan your spring-clean by prioritising tasks and setting achievable timeframes to complete each job. It may take you a few weekends to get everything done but the results will be worth all the effort.

{Sponsored Post}

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Project Extension: Week 1 - The Start

After a very restless Sunday night last week involving hubby up until 10pm outside removing trees very last minute (best not to ask!!) we woke up Monday all excited for the extension work to start.
Well we waited, and waited and waited some more...
Looks like the builders got the dates mixed up with the excavation company because the demolition now isn't starting until this week. Big sigh!!
We did have the job measured up and planned out last week though and the markers make the job look huge. I really cannot imagine how it is all going to look once it is all done.
For those playing at home that aren't quite sure what on earth we are doing, this is the plan...
- Increase the size of our existing formal lounge. This includes removing all existing bay windows and installation of new modern windows. The plan is to use the new space in the Lounge area as an open play space

The image below shows our bedroom and lounge areas where the work will be done.

Say bye bye Bay Windows!!
- Create a Mudroom Style storage space. Our house is on a bit of an odd angle (as you can see from the below shot), so we are installing this 'nook' area so that we don't have any major rooms on a funny angle. I plan to use this as a storage room/somewhere to put shoes and hang coats.

Why on earth didn't you built the house straight people?!!!
- Create a new entrance Hall and Corridor. The front door will finally face the road instead of being half way up the path as you can see above - so many people confuse the side garage door for our front door!
- Add on a 4th bedroom to the Home
- Add on a Walk in Closet to our Master Bedroom (yippe!!). Remove existing bay windows and install new modern windows to all new spaces
- Rip up all gardens (including those super tall palms - not fun!) and paths and replace with new. As you can see from these pictures, we have spent the last 6 years completely renovating our home inside and not done a thing outside with the gardens!
- Fix our Garage which has cracked brickwork
- Render the house
- Spray existing and new roof tiles from the yucky terracotta colour to a modern charcoal to match the new modern colour scheme
- Paint existing window frames to match the new scheme (new windows will be aluminium)

- Replace guttering on most of house, guttering not being replaced to be painted to match the new scheme
- Paint the new extension and refresh other rooms

- Install flooring - carpet for the lounge and floorboard style of flooring for all other spaces

- Replace that horrible side fence - may have to wait til next year to do that one..
Gee looking at that we really do have our work cut out for us don't we?!!

This is a little shot showing the progress we made ourselves last week with removing the garden and the path - it is just like one big mudpit at the moment, but hey it is a start...


Will keep you posted with the progress that this week brings - I hope!!


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Five Things to look for in a Wedding Caterer

Wedding planning, while being extremely exciting, can also be very stressful. You have to decide on outfits for the bridal party, a venue, a colour scheme or theme and of course, a catering service. There are many caterers out there and it is important to know what to look for when planning for your big day.


Flexible Menu Options

There are many different dining options for weddings, and is important that your caterer has multiple options, so you can find a style of catering that is best suited to your wedding. Professional catering services, such as Noosh Catering offer multiple dining options including buffets, sit-down meals, three course banquets, canapés, finger foods and or tapas. It is also important that your caterer can adjust the menu and your catering package to your budget. Be clear about your personal budget and ideal dining options and find a caterer that is willing to create a menu meets your personal needs. 

Good Reputation

It is important that you choose a wedding caterer that has a good reputation in your area. You may like to ask your caterer how many weddings they typically do each year and how long they have been in the catering business. This will give you an indication of how reliable they are likely to be. These days you can often research the catering company or service online, by looking at their website and social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn).


Consideration of Special Food Needs

Every wedding is unique and so are the guests that will be attending. It is important that you are aware of any special dietary requirements of your guests. Good catering services will be accustomed to offering alternatives and alterations to their menu to suit those with food allergies, intolerances or other special food needs, such as veganism, vegetarianism and cultural and religious dietary requirements.
Image Source

Committed Staff

You want staff members that are wiling to go above and beyond on your special day. It is a good idea to contact your wedding catering team as early as possible and begin to build a rapport with them. Quite often, good caterers will offer to help to plan and assist with other aspects of the wedding such as event design, and recommending vendors for lighting, decoration and furniture hire.


Innovative Ideas

Just like with everything at your wedding, you want your catering to be unique and memorable. When choosing a caterer, look for services that are creative and innovative and provide ideas for serving and presenting your food. Ask them if they provide appetizer stations, serving platters and buffet tables and if they provide any decorations or décor along with them. The more they can supply the better.
Hiring wedding caters that are reputable, flexible, considerate, innovative and dedicated is essential when planning for your wedding. So what have been your experiences with wedding caterers? What do you think are the most important things to look for in a wedding caterer?
{Sponsored Post}

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mini Pitcher Hat Giveaway

Stylish, super cute and personal - I think that Mini Pitcher have hit a home run (pardon the pun!) - with their super cute range of baseball hats for infants and toddlers.
These hats were created by fellow Melbourne Mummies - Beth and Caz - who spotted a need for chic hats for little heads and I am so glad that they did!

Available in classic Navy, Red and Pink - there is a perfect colour for all little ladies and men out there! I also hear that some new colours are on the horizon, so stay tuned for that...
Priced at $19.95 for an infant cap and $24.95 for a toddler cap, not only are they affordable and stylish - but I can guarantee that your little one will love wearing his/her initial with pride. It is also a great way for your little one to start recognising their name.
As for the cute factor, I think the pictures speak for themselves, don't you?!!!


I am just willing Miss C's head to grow, so that she can wear her hat come summer time, because I ordered the toddler size for her.

These make the ultimate new baby gift when you want something unique yet personal for a special bub.
Now for the exciting part... Mini Pitcher have kindly offered up one cap to give away to one super lucky reader. You get to choose the size, colour and of course your letter - your little one (and you!)will love this with summer just around the corner...
To enter, simply follow the rafflecopter prompts below and note that both conditions of entry (liking the Utterly Organised and Mini Pitcher Facebook Pages) must be met, or your entry will not be valid.

Enter Here 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

- The giveaway will be hosted by Rafflecopter and is open to Australian residents only
- The announcement of the lucky winner will be made on the Utterly Organised Facebook Page
- The lucky winner will have 5 days to contact Utterly Organised and claim their prize
- Failure to claim prize within designated period will result in another winner being drawn
- Entrants must like the Utterly Organised and Mini Pitcher Facebook Pages and Failure to comply with both entry requirements will result in an entrants entry being disqualified
- Any questions on the competition can be directed to 
Good luck everyone!!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Always doing things Twice and a Peek at Miss C's Nursery...

One of my most frustrating (and dare I say, expensive) habits that I possess, is that I am prone to changing my mind... I say this in the context of almost anything that I do around our house.
To illustrate my point, I have been guilty of politely 'suggesting' to hubby that he needed to re-tile our bathroom after changing 'our' (okay I mean - mine!) mind on the colour he had put up (after 4 days of work mind you). Yes a few harsh words were exchanged then, but happy wife happy life and all that jazz!
Finalising Miss C's nursery has been quite a challenge for Mrs Doing Things Twice, as I have changed my mind a zillion times on the darn Polka Dot wall. I have gone from mid grey 3 inch dots....
To adding in a scattering of 3 inch Pink Dots....
Before settling on Pale Grey Small dots (see small dot on far right above)...
And for this indecision, I largely blame Pinterest - too many ideas and inspiration and out there for one person!
On a side note - if you are in the market for some polka dot wall decals, please shoot me a line as I am going to sell my leftovers (and there are a few!) as I cannot stand to see them in my office any longer!
I have had a few emails and messages about when the heck am I going to feature this nursery. Well folks, I am waiting on a final few finishing touches before I can finally show it off to you all. And boy I hope that it will be soon, because once our building work kicks off in two weeks, we will all be camping out in the kids rooms for a wee little while and this room aint' going to look so pretty!
But for now, here is a little snapshot...
Please tell me I am not alone when it comes to often occasionally doing things twice?! 


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Catering Tips for a Successful Party

A party caterer is entrusted with the responsibility of taking some pressure off the hosts. Caterers are responsible for planning the menu for the party, prepare the food accordingly, deliver and set it up and subsequently clean up the area when the event is over. If you think you can manage doing the non food duties and still have some spare time with you, you may consider doing the job of a caterer yourself. Not only will you enjoy doing the duties of a caterer but also have some savings coming your way.
Here are few tips to allow your party catering venture go smoothly without any hiccups:
1. Don't Experiment
It is wise not to try a new menu on the guests. The best choice is to stick to the menu that you are comfortable with. This tip holds true for food prepared by professionals as well as homemade food. The secret to a successful catering is to offer food that you have cooked in the past or if you are ordering it from a restaurant, go with the dishes that you have tried before.
2. Order Early
When you decide to order food from another party, it is recommended that you order it early to ensure that you get what you want in time and in the exact quantity. Make sure you order your stuff at least a week before the scheduled date of the event. This tip holds true for both the conditions; whether you are ordering food from a restaurant or ordering the list of groceries required to prepare the food that you have decided.
3. Discounts
While ordering food from a restaurant, it is wise to enquire if there are some discounts being offered. If the order is large enough, the restaurant may offer you a discount even if there is none being advertised currently. Also ask the restaurant owner if the food can be delivered at your place on the day of the party. You will be very busy in other jobs on the day of the event and may not get time to fetch food from the restaurant.
4. Preparation and Preservation
There are some foods that can be prepared ahead of the event and preserved for later consumption; say after a few hours or after a day. For example mushroom stuffed with cheese and spinach can be prepared and kept in freezer for a day. Vegetable kebabs and fruits can also be stored overnight. Strips of meat can be refrigerated for up to two days before they are taken out for grilling. 
5. Alternative Needs
It is advised to stay away from an all meat affair. Unless you know that you have no guest on the list who has a vegetarian preference, it is in good form to keep some vegetarian dishes so that the ones with special food choices have some dishes to select from. Also try to keep some sugar free desserts for diabetics.
When you plan to throw a party, it goes without saying that economy is one of the issues on your mind. Most of you who have organised parties before would agree that bar is an element that compels you to spend a fortune when you plan to set up one.

Photo credit: Alisdare via Flickr
Here are few cost saving tips for a party catering when you decide to set up a bar:
1. If you plan to set up a bar in your party arena, it is recommended that you cater for limited but interesting offerings of beer, wine and only one specialty drink. When you try to offer a variety of drinks, you cannot gauge the taste of the guests. This results in one drink being undersubscribed to and the other being heavily oversubscribed to resulting in a disastrous imbalance.
2. Stick to an all purpose glass if you are going to rent glasses. Avoiding special glassware can obviate the possibility of you ordering extra glasses per person and also allow you to have a sleek and contemporary set up at the bar.
3. Try to club the coffee machine with the bar counter. This will save you the costs of placing sugar and creamers on each table as well as on cups and silver display urns.
Catering for a part requires meticulous planning and preparation. These tips will go a long way in enabling you to have a successful party. Pay attention to small details to make sure that you do not face any impromptu requirement which may result in the party going off the track. If you have an iota of doubt on your capabilities to cater successfully for the party, it is wise to resort to the services of a professional caterer.
{Sponsored Post}

© Utterly Organised. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.