Bits and Blogs #2 (plus tips)

What have I been reading to, listening to, being inspired by this month? I’m so glad you asked…

A podcast that has me pumping: The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus are the minimalists and have built up a massive following via their blog. Just recently (as in 10 episodes ago) they started up a podcast. Their motto is ‘Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.’

The standout podcast so far: Stuff which is pretty self explanatory but very eye opening.

Podcast Tip: So when do I actually listen to a podcast? I squeeze in one or two shows each day – that said, it depends on the length of the podcast and the kind of day we’re having. I mostly stick the earphones in when we go for a walk, others listen when they are cleaning the house (I don’t really clean so that doesn’t apply to me) and of course driving is a great chance to tune in. I sometimes look for an excuse to mosey on out to Trundle just so I can lend my ears to a new episode.

Inspo from Instagram: Jetsetmamma

I have mentioned this mumma previously as being someone who gets me through the day. Her honesty about motherhood is so spot on that I sometimes blush when reading her posts. Mother of two boys and an intrepid traveller, Claire Alexander-Johnston is actually telling it how it is – broken legs and all.

Check her baby’s birthday post: You may well tear up.

Instagram Tip: You can check out public Instagram accounts without being an Instagram account holder. This was a game changer for me – now I can look and love images and posts without being sucked into the vortex of scrolling, commenting, checking back in & all of my mind games that go with it.

Best Blog: The Rare Pear

Our special guest on the show today is Shani Nottingham who lives in Cowra – our neck of the woods.

We asked her a couple of questions about her creativity & recent successes in the world of blogging. Yes, she is a winner! Shani took out the Kidspot Voices of 2015 Competition for Australian creatives in the ‘Home and Wellbeing’ section. Pretty amazing stuff.

Our radio interview was a bit of a muck up – I had originally told Shani the wrong day – so it threw us all. Mental note: I will take my time when writing emails and making sure I get the finer details correct. In the end Shani was able to make the interview and her enthusiasm and brightness shone through. You can listen to it HERE

If you have ever wondered if telegraph poles could be beautiful then you’d best check out Shani’s latest blog post to see how she has captured these monstrosities.

Wonderful images from our part of the world.

Telegraph poles




Sleep Deprivation: The silent killer

OK, well I may have gathered that you don’t actually die from lack of sleep – or I would have been 6 foot under a few months ago – but boy does it mess with your system. One of the many words of wisdom I received when Lenny came on the scene included ‘Just remember, no one has ever died from a lack of sleep’ And that may be technically true, but I have often wondered if sleep deprivation has been responsible for people going close to dying  – or being responsible for someone else’s death at the very least.

I’m not sure what you call the phase that we are currently going through (I have an appointment with the community nurse later this month, so I’m hoping to get a formal diagnosis from her) but call it teething, call it a growth spurt, call it whatever the heck you like, but when sleep is hard to come by then everything else is hard. Real hard.

I don’t need to count up the hours of missed sleep on my fingers, I know I am sleep deprived when:

  • My creativity is sapped…and I feel like I’ll never have a bright idea again. The thought of sitting down to write a blog post makes me feel squeamish, along with the thought that I might never have a funny/ useful/ interesting/ productive thing to say to anyone again. Ever.
  • Relationships become strained…mainly with those that live under the same roof as me (I seem to be able to ‘bung it on’ if I have a visitor.) Mind you, my conversation skills are limited and I tend to speak in one or two word sentences. I prefer to be the answerer rather than the questioner when I am tired, and it’s amazing how long you can keep a conversation rolling with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers.
  • The comparison trap is wide open…yep, and I start to slide in. Without decent sleep I start to doubt myself and invariably imagine other more capable ladies killing it. It’s not healthy and I have developed some skills to snap back out of it, but often if I am feeling a bit tender then I start to worry what other people might think. Which is not helpful at all.
  • Come night time, the TV is turned on…and I watch it recklessly, flicking from the new SBS food channel (I think Curtis Stone might have shares in that channel – he is on every 2nd show) to the cricket slash tennis or heaven forbid repeats of Grand Designs from 2010. Turn it off.
  • I overthink every single decision…actually I can’t actually make a decision to save myself. Should I put the pram into the car first? Will I turn the car on to cool down? Should I pop Lenny in first? Will I put my shoes on before I put him in? ARRGGH Who cares? Just get in the bloody car. Go barefoot, no one gives a toss.
  • We’re in a food funk…I know everyone is capable of falling into a slump when it comes to meal planning and cooking but I have gone through long stints of meat and 3 veg – ok make it 2, including potato – for days at a time. And not a skerrick of gravy or sauce to be seen. I’m telling you when I haven’t had sleep, things are B.L.A.N.D.

I’d like to say that it’s the complete reversal of these tendencies when I am loaded up on sleep. Not quite, but everything is brighter, there’s no doubt about it. And I can see past my own eyelashes…and even be helpful to others.

So it’s off to bed for me.






Action Jackson

Yes, it’s all happening in the final stages of the putting together of Northcote.

And yes, I am about 2 months behind on blog posts.

So how about we just pretend time has stood still, and the Bakers haven’t actually moved in yet. And the painting isn’t done and the floors haven’t been finished, and that moving is still to come.

It’s been a flurry of tradies over the past few weeks (at least that part is true.) The main things to finish off have been carpeting of two bedrooms, hooking up of the solar, building the front steps and the amazing deck – complete with water views – and the sanding, polishing & staining of the floorboards.

Oh and boy the floorboards are delicious! So delicious you could eat (off) them. Well, some of our friends pretty much did. And you know how the first meal in a new house is often an occasion to celebrate… well look closely friends.


Yes, leftover pizza. Classy.

It’s been a flurry of packing, and the following image says it all. At least someone was smiling.


Siddy Boy was lucky to make it out of the laundry alive.

Oh, and we’re running another competition and all you need to do is name one of the hobbies represented in this picture…I’ll start; netball, welding, holepunching (soon to be recognised as an Olympic sport) lantern hanging…

Just leave your contributions in the comments section.

Talk soon


My, what big ceilings you have…

Size does matter, and in the case of the new River Road dwelling, this comes in the way of 3.6m – that’s 12ft in the old scale – ceilings.

They are magnificent and while they have proven to be a little tricky for the trades – particularly those with a fear of heights – the result is certainly worth it.


Gotta love a few guns

Bill made a whiz bang winning Ebay purchase (really, there are no failures on Ebay – well none that we speak of) and got himself a gyprock lifter. This thing is gold – the equivalent of the lemon zester in the 2nd drawer – and made light work of hoisting the sheets of gyprock all the way up into the air.

Gyprock lifter

12 ft ceilings…pfftt…a piece of cake

So there have been a few tricks put in place to bring those babies a bit closer to earth – try and make things look a little more cosy but still showing off those tall walls. The first one is a fancy cornice – which goes around the edge and is the meeting place for the walls and the ceiling. It’s going to be a bit ornate and wider than average.

The other feature will be wide skirting boards. And they are beautiful. Who would have thought you could get so excited about a piece of timber that runs around the bottom of a room? But yes, they are certainly adding to the charm.

Pre - cornice

Pre – cornice

In terms of choosing the fittings, it’s been quite a cinch…WB took loads of photos of the house in its original state – before it departed Melbourne – so the construction brief has been “match the original fittings”. And that goes for the rosette, which you can see here in its Melbourne surroundings.

The original rosette...quite ornate, don't you think?!

The original rosette…quite ornate, don’t you think?! Not so sure about the light feature…

This makes decision making a snap, and means the house hasn’t gone from Federation to Kardashian.

Next up is the bathroom…oohh you should see it!! I’ve got two words for you: Herring.Bone



Talk soon


What HAVE you guys been up to?!

Yes, yes. It’s been a long time between drinks. But there are some great excuses that I have been concocting (perhaps my time may have better spent on actually writing a blog post, rather than dreaming up excuses as to why there hasn’t been one for about 100 years.)

I am going to blame it on the builders. Yep, that sounds fair enough. They have been off galavanting about the place and have only just recently returned to the mighty River Road. So that means it’s all action stations and there will be some serious updates rolling out of this computer.

Since we last met, young Sidney Baker has come along in leaps and bounds. He is able to differentiate between odd and even numbers, eat whole foods – we’re talking kale and chia seeds, and all in all his progress could be termed ‘phenomenal’. In terms of cuteness stakes, he is off the charts.


But back at the ranch is where the action is really starting to take off and in wise Wendy’s words “It’s really starting to look like a house!” (which of course is the general idea)

Here’s what has been going down since we last chatted:

– Local bobcat expert Kevvy Asimus levelled out the dirt pad around the house – so it looks more like it’s on a sloping mound rather than the top of Mt Kosciusko. Lots of people stop me in the street and ask how high above the ground the actual house is…well it happened once… and I wasn’t really stopped, more like text messaged… anyways the house has to meet council regulations (“Yes” Mr Council Inspector, “No” Mr Council Inspector) and it needs to be so many millimetres above a 1 in 300 year flood.


Kevvy 2

– Prior to that, CB built a retaining wall around the legs of the house, so the dirt stays out. And if flood water ever gets that high (heaven forbid) it can be pumped out. All very neat and tidy (and I can’t wait till Sid gets under the house and makes a massive bike track in there)


– The dirt has come from all manner of places including road works around Forbes, a mate’s dam that needed enlarging and anywhere that looked like it needed levelling.

– Wiring has taken place – which meant serious decisions about where power points and light switches are going. Enter Mark Webb Electrical.


And here is the builder – ahem – liaising with the customer about cornices and rosettes. Sid looks positively blown away by all of the excitement.


CB and WB are keen to keep much of the look of the original house – from what they saw of it in Melbourne – and what wasn’t covered in mattresses, two minute noodle packets and drug taking paraphernalia. In its former life, this house was a breeding ground for the more desperate and destitute university students of greater Melbourne. Let’s hope that they too are reinventing themselves, just like their old digs.

Oh and in some sad news, poor Wally died. The biggest most loveable labrador has gone to the big kennel in the sky. RIP Wally.

But we never like to end on a downer, so in keeping with the positive theme, everything is on track for Sidney Baker’s 1st birthday party to be held in the new house. And you’re all invited.


Flat to the boards

Yes, this week it’s all about the boards – of both the floor and weather variety.

John and his A-Team have arrived back from Kilmore and are going like mad things to have the house closed in – from all angles – by the end of the week. Which is a real shame for the cat that has taken up residence.

They even left their homes in Kilmore, which is where the terrible bush fires are at the moment, to take up their place at Northcote. Talk about dedicated.

So far they have patched up the floorboards where the two fire places were in the kitchen and living room.

Exhibit A:


And the weather boards are taking shape along the southern side.

Exhibit B:


This two-tone look might really take off.

And now it’s the western side’s turn, and how is this for a workplace with a view? It kind of softens the blow of the 40+ deg temps that are lurking around these days.

Exhibit C:


But perhaps the most impressive achievement thus far is the ripping lawn that CB (who moonlights as an agronomist when not managing logistics at Northcote) has managed to establish in between the goings on of the house. It’s very impressive and has the makings of a fabulous oval. Maybe next year CB will have the New Year’s Test at his place.

Exhibit C and a half:


It’s a story of two halves

So day 1 is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The house was still there when dawn broke. No one had stolen the trucks and she seemed to have slept well. She loves her new home.

Initial comments from the proud and eager new parents included:

“We’re hoping for it to be at lock up stage by Chrissy 2014” (Ever the realist: CB)

“So is the roof still coming, or is that it?” (Slightly overwhelmed by the whole experience:WB)


Let’s call this side ‘A’

The more practical aspects of the move, when it was still back in Melbourne, involved cutting the house in two, by actually making two incisions – one either side of the hallway. Pictured above are the floorboards of the hallway strapped up for the trip.

It’s easy to see why they were kept…nice wide babies.

Oh and this was a moment of truth alright – the truck pulled away leaving the big girl standing all by herself!


Look Mum, no hands!

The piers have been popped in today – with holes dug to a depth of 800mm,  (apologies if this detail bores you to tears but apparently people get a kick out of knowing this sort of stuff) They had a little bit of cement poured in (about “that much”) and then the steel piers were put in place – all very precise.

And about 140 of them.


On average, about 10 piers per worker

And then the most magical part was when the two parts came together as one.


So that’s the end of phase 1 and the ‘movers of houses’ have done their bit and are able to go back home to Victoria.

Next up the carpenters arrive and start putting things back in their rightful place. In the meantime, CB thought he might give them a helping hand with a bit of easy, non-back-breaking demolition work.


Stick with it! 


A new house has arrived, via the Newell Highway.

There is excitement in the air – a house has arrived from Melbourne, via Tocumwal, on a truck. It’s going to be parked on the Lachlan River and will become the new home for my sister and her hubby.

Ahh, the possibilities

Ahh, the possibilities

Here’s the bare block, as it is ‘pre house.’ Such an exciting (read ‘stressful’) time for them both as they prepared the way for the big arrival.

In their words, it has been a build up like no other. It could actually be compared to the impeding birth of a new baby (my observations, not theirs.)

Rather than a Doctor, the couple are making regular appointments with engineers from Council – who seem to have written every ‘parenting’ book known to man.

And the pre natal ‘huff and puff’ class has been replaced with reading up on the science of house relocation. The resident midwife, John from Golden Age Homes, specialises in transporting houses from inner city Melbourne to a new location. This Victorian style home was originally from Northcote and has now made way for more high rise units. (We think it will be much happier in the country!)

Preparations have been made, not a nursery but rather levelling of the soil, pegging out of the site, mapping of the nearby river and the like. An impending baby is sounding much easier.

And just like many babies, the bloody thing came early! Here she is making her grand entrance…


Nearly there…

The proud parents watch on

The rear end

Welcome to your new paddock.


The coming together of two parts to make a whole

The naming ceremony is next – every farm needs a name. So the front runner at the moment is Northcote, as a reference to the origins of the house. Not being overly familiar with the suburbs of Melbourne, the house relocators assured us that it used to be a fairly low brow suburb however it is well on its way to being one of high regard. We’ll go with that.

In the meantime it’s action stations… and I am thinking of setting up a lemonade stall to take full advantage of the local onlookers that have incorporated a drive along River Road into their daily routine.


Oh, and did I mention that they are actually having a real baby as well?!