How to clean ceiling fans with Baking soda & Vinegar

So our renovations started in early December 2017 and I naively thought that after all the months of planning we could just sit back and let the builder and tradies do their thing and I could finally relax...well what was I thinking! The list of to do's just keep going and a lot of small things that we just didn't think of, like removing and cleaning the ceiling fans because the ceiling was being skimmed. So this post takes you through how Pete and I set about cleaning these very filthy things. And because we try to avoid chemical cleaners we only used baking soda and vinegar and they came up a treat. 




This is just the list of things that we used and I would recommend having if you are going to do the same.

  • Toothbrush 
  • Lid or small bowl
  • Bucket
  • Light dishwashing liquid soap
  • Old rags or cleaning cloths
  • Water and Vinegar spray ( see my general cleaner recipe
  • Ladder
  • Screwdriver



This is a bit like stating the obvious, however I do need to point out that you need to take the ceiling fan down from the ceiling!. Make sure that you use a ladder, safely, and turn off the power supply as well. You don't want to chop your head off by accidentally setting off the fan while removing it. 

Most ceiling fans can be disassembled by simply unscrewing the screws. We just removed each fan from the centre mechanism. Pete removed the metal cap that went over the motor so we could clean it easier. In the end we had the ceiling fan broken into six parts;

  • 4 fans
  • Central mechanism
  • Metal cap


Then it was just a matter of getting stuck in and cleaning!


Firstly we filled up the bucket with warm soapy water, light dishwash liquid. We use Ecostore dishwashing liquid

Then I mixed up a paste of baking soda and my general cleaner. I just used the baking soda jar lid. You could use a small bowl instead.

I took each piece and sprayed them first with my general cleaner, then took my toothbrush and used it to spread the "paste" around. Using the toothbrush as a scrubber I was able to scrub all the surfaces and the difficult to get to areas. Pete used the bucket with soapy water to clean off after scrubbing and then simply wiped the surfaces down with a dry clean cloth. Some of the surfaces needed a bit of extra elbow grease (a good hard scrub). Pete and I were really pleased with how well they came up! Almost new looking. 



The cleaning did not change the slight yellowing of the paint and surface, that is simply an age issue, however by being sparkling clean they looked so much better.

All we had to do was to ensure they dried off well and reassemble the parts, and Bob's your Uncle! it's all done.



A couple of pointers, as the ceiling fans were of an older type, each fan had a centre cane laminate. To clean this I did just as described above, however I made sure that I used a nice soft toothbrush. This meant that there was no damage to the laminate.

So there you have it, a simple and effective, non chemical way to clean your ceiling fans.

If you want to get more ideas and resources on cleaning in the home just check out my Pinterest page and don't forget to follow me so you can see all the latest information that I add.

Well that's it my friends, just short and simply post this time but hopefully of some use and maybe its got you inspired to go clean whatever it is that you have been saying "oh I must clean that sometime" 

Take care and stay safe my friends

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Our renovation journey, update and tips to survive it!

After just three months we are finally coming to the end of our renovation journey. I can't believe that it was back in November 2017 that I posted about our renovation plans. As everything comes together and the initial dream and planning all comes to life, you figure out if you have made the right decisions!!!! That's a bit scary and combined with the hustle and bustle on site to get the renovations over the line it's been a tiny bit stressful.

To be honest over the past week, there were some moments that were kind of crazy, however looking back, individually they were not really big issues, it was more that they all collided at the same time. A lot of last minute decisions and issues to get sorted in order to get the job completed;

  • Bathroom cabinets had faults which caused issues with fitting in and needed to deal with the manufacturer
  • Not enough spray paint to finish the stair way railings
  • Plumbing challenges in the kitchen
  • Grouting colours to decide
  • Bathroom mirror decisions
  • Shifting furniture for the carpet laying

Now these don't seem a lot but when your working full time while trying to deal with suppliers and your builder and your husband is away overseas it gets a bit much...oh yeah and you hear from your husband and daughter that their luggage has been lost between Melbourne and Hong Kong! it can get a tad stressful. And to top it all off having to pay the final instalments to the builder and painter....with the back account growning...eeek

You can see how renovation programmes make good I`d be the ultimate drama Queen and everyone would be laughing at me...I'd be like... "I just can't deal with this anymore" followed by tears of course.

So how far have we come in our journey? The end is in sight and there are only a few things in each area that need finishing off, probably a couple of weeks work left.



Bench top pantry, subway tile splash back and shaker style cabinets

Kitchen to do list

  • Fit in gas cooktop burner and connect the gas
  • Plumb in the fridge
  • Place kick boards
  • Plumb in the coffee machine

Guest Bathroom

Tiled shower with glass sides

Guest bathroom do list

  • Installation of the glass shower walls
  • Installation of the mirrors and the lights
  • Installation of the glass shower shelves


Tiled shower, wall hung cabinet and toilet

Ensuite to do list

  • Installation of the glass shower walls
  • Installation of the mirrors and the lights
  • Installation of the glass shower shelves


Linen cupboard and hand rail

Other stuff to do list

  • Hang all the doors
  • Stain the wooden rails on the stairs
  • Installation of the new ceiling fan
  • Fit off the switches in the bedrooms, lounge and hallway
  • Build the internal storage system for the master wardrobe
  • Hang the light shades and wall lights 

While writing this post I reflected on how much the renovation process can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. On the whole I think that Pete and I have managed to survive intact through this big renovation project. So what were our survival tactics! Luck probably...but actually I think good communication was the most important, followed by good budget management by managing the variances and lastly learning to be patient! Yep so these would be my top three tips for survival. 

Communication is King

If you are the Kardashians and can't spell it would be Kommunication is King!  Don't worry I have saved you from that pain. I know that the one thing that has really helped a lot has been great communication with the builder and other tradies that we are working with. Pete and I always made sure that we were accessible so if our builder had any questions, any decisions that need to be made that we could answer them and didn't hold him up. We also checked in daily to go through progress and any issues, always making sure that we delivered on what we promised we would do. There were a couple of times that I just couldn't get something sorted and told my builder and he would manage it for me. It really helped to be open and honest about what you can do and what help you need from them. We always made sure that everyone had the same message so there was no confusion...well we tried to! This was the biggest challenge for us, making sure that Pete and I agreed on the same thing, so if the builder asked me a question then Pete at a different time, that he got the same response. There were a few times where that didn't happen so it did cause some confusion. Like.."what do you want to do with the hand rails?" Pete says paint black...I say stain....painter is confused!!!

Being on site as much as possible really helped, just literally being on call for the builder was a real bonus.

Manage the variances

It's all about the money honey!. As you go into a renovation project you have the contract agreed which states the cost and schedule of payments. Our builder was very specific with what was included in the contract, e.g down to the # of lights switches. So we knew exactly what we were getting for our money.

Any time you change what is being done, material and labour after that contract is signed that's a variance. (if you have no signed contract..then you could get into all sorts of problems!! just warning you). A variance can be expensive so we were always really clear with what that variance would be. Asking ourselves, did we really need to do it? and what it would cost. We did end up with three variances with our builder;

  • Removal of the pelmets in the bedrooms, dining room ceiling plus external plumbing changes 
  • Replacement and installation of all internal doors 
  • Replacement and installation of the wooden hand rail on the stairs

In total these variances cost $6000 however we worked through each issue and decided on the importance and value to the renovation. A good example was the internal doors. We ended up replacing them all as they were all getting painted (part of the contract) however we did not want to paint doors that really were going to have to be replaced in a few years time (the laminate was peeling off a lot of them). Other things like replacing the hardware on the windows we didn't get done because they all worked ok and over time Pete and I can replace them with more modern looking ones. 

Changes occur constantly throughout the renovation, my advice is to just check if that change will actually mean a change to the contract, therefore a variance and what it will cost and agree or not on it. 

Be Patient 

For those of you who know me well, may laugh at this...but yeah you have to be patience... or at least try to be patient. I think it's fair to say most of us, who aren't builders, have unrealistic ideas of how long it takes to get things done and what is actually involved. Seeing the detail of the work that has to be done helped me to understand that to do it right takes time and patience and sometimes rework. We had a situation with the pantry bench top which meant that there was delay and my builder had to reschedule his tradies. At the time I was not happy about it however it ended up being completed only being two days later than the original planned date.....really two days delay is nothing so I had to learn to cool my jets!

My mind is now starting to switch into the excitement of decoration and this will be a challenge as there is no budget left!!!

If you want to hear more about my renovation journey and my organising plans for the kitchen and bathrooms, make sure that you sign up for my newsletter, just pop you details below to sign up


Until next time, take care my friends

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Renovations design process - 5 key elements

Does the thought of undertaking renovations make you want to run into the hills screaming?  It seems that for a lot of people renovations are overwhelming and full of dramas and lots of stress, not to mention the large quantity of money that streams out of your account. Well good news, it does not have to be like that.  Our current large renovation project (we have done a few in our time) has been exciting and rewarding and certainly not full of dramas and unexpected surprises and stress. To be honest we have always found this to be the case.  So we discussed why that is, is it just luck that things go so well?. We actually identified 5 elements that we have always stuck to during a renovation design process that  has really helped us and thought that it would be helpful to share with you.



1. Wait 

This simply means don't rush into your renovations. If you are new to a home, live in it for a while, at least 6 months. This gives you time to figure out how you actually live in the home. I know it may not always be possible, but if you can, do wait and consider the space, use it, figure out what works well and what doesn't.  I can guarantee that your initial ideas will not be what you end up doing if you wait. Waiting can save you a lot of money and time by not rushing in and doing something you regret later.

If you have a lot to do, plan the tasks out and prioritise them, one thing at a time!. As an example our current home, which we moved into 5 years ago really needed everything done when we first moved in.  We identified the most urgent, which happened to be a new hot water system and did that first. Then we moved onto the external part of the house, made sure it was weather proof and no rotting decks. Once the external was repaired and weather proof we moved onto the internal. 

I know that it's hard sometimes to wait, however we have always done this and never regretted it and in fact have come up with much better designs and ideas. 

2. Vision

What do you want the space look like? Whatever is your answer is actually your vision. Your vision should reflect your style, do you like a modern clean line look?, a Boho look? a Farmhouse cottage look? Beach look? What ever your style is ensure that you incorporate this into the design. It's your space so make it your place. Pinterest is a great place to start to get ideas and inspiration, check out my Style Ideas board 

Having a clear vision really helps you in making decisions through the design and renovation process. And yes there are a lot of decisions that you have to make! like little things, door knobs and handles, towel rails, mirrors and so on. All these little decisions can be exhausting if you do not have a sense of vision or really do not know what you want. It will take a lot longer for you to wade through the overwhelming options and that is not fun!

As a side note, if you are not sure about what style you like, I can recommend a great book, Styled, that I have really enjoyed reading. It has a whole chapter dedicated to "name your style". 



3. Function

In designing your renovations don't forget to think about the function of the spaces. How are they going to be used? Who is going to be using them?  A bathroom which will be used mainly by guests will have different functions than that of your ensuite i.e a single sink would be fine however you may want a double sink in the ensuite. In the kitchen, do you entertain a lot? if so consider that when determining the layout and storage space (for all the entertainment dishes etc), we all know that we congregate in the kitchen at parties!



4. flexibility (compromise)

So, this is not about compromising your overall vision, it's about making positive changes needed to actually achieve your vision.

Two key areas where compromise is important;

  • Working with your partner/husband/wife/family
  • Renovation work

Unless your other half is not interested, the design process must be a joint effort and therefore you need to be able to compromise to ensure that your both end up with what you like. Pete and I had different ideas on the bathroom tiles. I wanted the "marble look" and Pete the concrete look. So rather than one dominating or demanding their style we worked through to find a tile that we both liked, that had elements of both....Always stay positive on this as you will always find a solution, but you need to be open to it.

During the renovation process elements of your design, what you want, may not be possible. This is often caused by a structural challenge, type of materials needed etc. Again you need to be  flexible and open to come up with alternative solutions.

5. AdviCe

Expert advice, listen to the experts they do know what they are talking about. You may think that you know it all, however the experts do know more and that's simply because they do it for a living!. 

A good example was our guest bathroom design. Pete and I had the completed the design layout, however once the renovation started the builder raised concerns about the design and how it may look. We discussed this and made changes based on his advice (he has done a lot of bathrooms) and the end result is soooo much better that our original design and without affecting our vision.

door knobs.png

Now one area that the we have not mentioned here is the budget as it's sort of incorporated into all 5 elements. How? Well you can't keep away from the fact that it's going to cost a lot and it will always be way more than you originally thought. However ensuring that you have considered all those five elements mentioned above, will really help to maintain the budget and not have a massive blow out! 

If you are interested in more information about renovations, do stick around as I will be sharing a lot more about this as we journey through our renovation project. In my next post I will be talking about how to build a great partnering relationship with your builder and tradies, so make sure that you sign up to the newsletter below.


Have you undertaken any renovation? how has your experience? Do you have any other handy tips and hints to help those looking at renovating? Love to hear from you, the good , the bad and the ugly, just leave a comment below in the comments section.

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My 2018 Planners - Part two

In my last post , I mentioned my other two planners that I will be using for 2018. These are my Kikki.K for my day job and my Carpe Diem for Tidying with Tania.  So this post brings to you all the awesome details on these two 2018 planners.



Why three planners?

This is a very good question. It simply comes down to how I work and think and cope with fitting everything in. My Personal planner, Franklin Covey, which I shared in the first post is essentially my catch all, which helps me to see my months, weeks and days with full view of everything that I have to fit in. The other two planners are very specific to that part of my day and the details of what I need to do, and most importantly for me they are separated. I find that I like to work in "compartments" ...yip I just made that up...but it helps to describe how I work and why I have separate planners. If I had all the detail in one I would find it very confusing and overwhelming. Therefore the separate planners really help me to be focused. 



My Carpe Diem - Tidying with Tania Planner

Obviously the name in itself is particularly motivating and totally apt for Tidying with Tania planner, or as is known my side hustle. This describes my wee business that I am slowly working on while doing my day job. This planner has to incorporate "the blog" as well as all my "business" goals and planning. For me this planner needs to be highly motivational to enable my inspiration so I need to really love working with it but it also needs to be functional and mean "business" my business socks on! 



You will note a bit of a theme from my personal planner in how I set things up in this planner, however I have made specific sections in this folder for what I need to help me with the post schedules, planning and achieving my goals. I have 7 main sections;

  • Inbox - ideas or notes I take during the day
  • Month - month on a page
  • Week - week on a page
  • Goals - My 2018 Strategy goals
  • Plans - 90 day plans - editorial calendar
  • Projects - project planning sheets
  • Quarterly Reviews - progress log

Within the Month and Week sections I have sub folders;

  • Monthly to do
  • Monthly review
  • Weekly to do
  • Weekly Review

I also have three separate sections at the back;

  • Admin - reference information
  • Miracle Morning - My inspiration boards and affirmations
  • Readings - note pages 


The inserts are mainly from , they are specifically designed for bloggers and I love the style of the inserts. They are functional and stylish, my ideal combination. I have also made some others myself on Google docs.

The dividers I made from card stock that I purchased and laminated. I get my card stock from Spotlight and also Warehouse stationery.  I love the colours and patterns as they go with the planner itself Carpe Diem and my business mentor work book Your Best Year 2018 .

CP_Business Book.png


My Kikki.K - Day job planner

So this planner is quite different as it's designed to complement my electronic planning. All my monthly, weekly, and schedule , emails etc are all managed within Outlook. I do find that I use a notebook, of which over the years I have refined to three main sections;

  • Today - daily (undated) which I section out with notes/emails/actions
  • Meetings - notes pages
  • Coaching - note pages

As a side note - I use my "Today" page to simply write notes that pop up during the day, also any actions and emails I need to follow up on from activities during the day. I transfer these every day into my calendar and to do list



Additionally I have four other sections;

  • Actions - my master To Do list
  • Plans - Business Plan and 90 day plans 
  • Diary - Just note key important dates - travel and conferences
  • Notes - general notes section

I am using a Kikki.k large personal planner similar to this one . All the inserts are Kikki.K and came with the planner. As I love to personalise my planners, as with the others I have made my own dividers. I got this great card stock that is themed on Coffee from the Warehouse Stationery which is perfect for a work planner!. Functional and stylish combination..boom!.   I am in love with the grey and pink and this goes well with my "pink" summer bag.



Well folks that's the overview of all three of my planners done. Let me know what you think. Has this inspired you to start using a planner? Need any help with choosing a planner? How to use it? Just drop me a line, you know I love planners so would love to help. Also share what planners you use and how you use them.

Have a fabulous week and we will catch up in my next post. 

Final note, don't forget to check out the details on the amazing giveaway that I have for this month.....see all the details below.

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Now for the most exciting news. I have a beautiful 2018 planner from Create 365 The Happy Planner, to giveaway this month to help you to plan and achieve your goals. All you need to do is to ensure that you have signed up to my newsletter below and you will go in the draw to receive this fantastic giveaway. All existing subscribers are included so you do not need to sign up again.


My 2018 Planners - Part one

Ohhhh lovely jubbly, this is for all you planner lovers out there and those that just wonder what all the fuss is about. In this post I am going to introduce you to my new 2018 Franklin Covey planner, and she is a beauty. I will take you through how I have set it up and how I use it to keep me organised. 

This is one of three planners I use. This one I use as my personal, catch all planner. I have a specific planner for Tidying with Tania and for my full time job which I will take you through in My 2018 Planners - Part Two post



The Planner

A planner is such a personal thing so finding the perfect planner for you can take some time. Let me tell you there is a never ending choice of planners out there. Yes, there are whole online businesses set up in this industry, I could go on but I will restrain myself today.  If you are interested to learn more about planners there are a number of You tube channels dedicated to planners, such as the planner spot , you can also just check out my Pinterest Planners board for ideas 

This year I have chosen to go with a Franklin Covey planner,  Blush Planner Love in the classic size (A5). It is a ring binder planner which gives me the ability to totally personalise it. I chose this planner for its style of binder and the inserts and dividers which were designed with My Mind's Eye who have the most gorgeous stationery. 

The Accessories 

Alongside the binder I purchased these accessories;

I use daily inserts but I did not like any of the options from Franklin Covey, as the lines are too small and I tend to write larger. I went on Etsy and found a great shop, Crossbow Printables that does nice clear and simple, and stylish printables and sourced their daily inserts.




I also made a few extra inserts and dividers myself for my cleaning schedule and budget. It's very easy to create using Google Draw in Google Docs. The dividers were made from a really lovely poster freebie from a house and garden magazine. The colours and picture just went perfectly with my planner. I just used the purchased dividers as a template and then laminated and labelled them. 



The Set up

I do have a very specific way that I like to set up my planner. It just makes perfect sense for me and means that I use it really effectively. How you use a planner is totally personal, however I have found seeing how others set theirs out really helpful and have taken some ideas that have worked really well for me. If you are wanting to get some ideas, just go on You tube and search for "planner set ups" . You will be there for years, just warning you.

So how do I set up mine? I start with a dashboard or in non planner speak, a front cover. It is also a place where we place stickers and the like. I also have my gratitude insert and planner title page at the front. Following on from that I have the following dividers;

  • Notes - this is my inbox 
  • Goals - one pager with our 2018 goals
  • This Month - Jan to Dec month calendars
  • This week - Jan to March weekly calendar (13 weeks)
  • Today - my daily planner - one month of dailys
  • Meal planning - weekly planner (13 weeks)
  • Cleaning schedule - one pager weekly list
  • Budget - monthly tracker
  • Projects - documents relevent  to current projects
  • TWT schedule - yearly view of my Tidying with Tania post schedule
  • Stickers envelope



The Planning

I have been a planner for years and as woman of a certain age I know what works for me. Some people take years to find "planner peace", yes that may seem like a oxymoron but it just means that your planner set up is perfect for you and you use it really well. 

My planning approach is all about ensuring that I start the week feeling in control and that I know what is coming up for me and family.  It starts on a Sunday morning over a cup of tea with me reviewing the months activities, updating any new appointments, events etc.  I often just note down things in my note page and on a Sunday just check this off. I then move into the week and simply write down what's coming up. I also do my meal planning so I can include this in the weeks view. The weekly to do's are also written up and I then go through and spread these out over the week, this really helps to get everything done.

So my weeks write up will include meals for each day, cleaning schedule, exercise times, appointments and my to do's. 

Every night I will set up my daily planner for the next day. This gives me space to work out what I do during the day. As I have to pack so much into my day this is a fantastic way of blocking out time to do the tasks and it keeps you on track. 



As we use a software programme for our budget, my budget pages are just for me to list out the cash that I need for each week and month, as we work off a cash system. I use the projects divider to hold anything to do with a current project. At the moment we are completing the renovations so I have all the business cards and renovation plans and budget in here, so I can easily get to the information that I need.

I hold my post schedule at the back of the planner, it's a year on a page and it simply lists out the dates that I have scheduled the posts. This is really helpful when I am planning and need to see what my week and month is going to look like. 

Due to the bulk created by inserts I only hold three months of weekly and meal planning pages. In fact that works really well for me as I am a 90 day planner. For the dailys I only hold a months worth. I just store the other pages and inserts on my planner box in my office.

As you can tell I love planners and love to plan, and yep I have three of them in use!!!  My next post I will take you through my other two planners so you can see how I use these, as they each are used in different ways.

I hope that you found this insight into my crazy planning passion interesting. Does anyone else plan like this? Are you thinking of starting a planner?  Do you want to know more about planners? I would love to hear from you, so just leave a comment below.

Have a well planned week everyone and happy planning

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Now for the most exciting news. I have a beautiful 2018 planner from Create 365 The Happy Planner, to giveaway this month to help you to plan and achieve your goals. All you need to do is to ensure that you have signed up to my newsletter below and you will go in the draw to receive this fantastic giveaway. All existing subscribers are included so you do not need to sign up again.


Welcoming in 2018

I love New Year, not just because you can have a fun night celebrating, more for the fresh start and the blank canvas ahead and the energised feeling that you are going to achieve your goals...this year!  Now I do think that most people do actually give themselves some type of goal or new years resolution, even if not openly stated, however most of us fail to achieve them. Goal setting can be easy, achieving them on the other hand is hard, and it takes planning, organising and commitment. For us, this year, planning 2018 is going to start with reflecting on what we achieved in 2017.

 Pete and I celebrating the end of 2017

Pete and I celebrating the end of 2017


Look Back 

Pete and I set three goals last year, and they were actually pretty full on!!

  • Landscape the West Side garden
  • Create the Potager garden
  • Plan and start the renovations 

Did we achieve them? Yes we did and it feels great. We are somewhat exhausted from such a busy year and do feel very happy with what we achieved. It really helps to reflect what you did achieve before your charge into the new year with more goals. There are things that we learnt that will help with our 2018 maybe have less! 

The question I ask is how did we achieve them, what made this work?

Setting a timeframe was the key to get us focused. We gave each one a date that we wanted the goal to be completed by. So for landscaping, that needed to be done by start of autumn, so we were not dealing with landscaping in winter. The Potager garden,  by October so I could get the summer crops in and the renovations underway by December. Another important issue is budget. Each of these goals costs to achieve so we needed to ensure that we had the budget for them. I think that is an important factor in setting goals. If, to achieve the goal, it is going to cost then you must factor that in, no point setting it if you do not have the budget for it...that's a real bummer as you just set your self up to fail and no one wants that.  Lastly we broke down the goal into tasks and focused on each task rather the overall goal. Doing each task took away that overwhelming feeling. This really helped with the landscaping job as it was a huge job.

So on reflection what worked well; setting timeframes, having a budget and listing out the tasks. 

Basically to achieve them we needed to run them like a project. Check out my post from Jan 2017 on goal setting as it helps to show you how we did that.

One of the other learnings was that we had three big goals and it has meant that 2017 was a huge year on the house and it took a lot of our time and effort...and money. Maybe a few less in 2018 would be good.

Look Forward

As with each year, Pete and I talked about our goals for 2018. One thing we agreed on was to have less, yep putting our learnings into practice. We agreed to three goals this year ;

  • Project free year
  • Financial goal
  • Health and Wellbeing

Ok the first one is not actually a goal, it's more of a don't do, however for us we have to have it as a goal as we do tend to want to jump into a project.....finishing the renovations on the house is big enough really!

The financial goal is a specific savings goal ...good thing that I have brought my planner supplies for the year and my new bag...!!

The biggest one, really important to Pete and I, is Health and Wellbeing. We really neglected that in 2017, just didn't have enough time away and down time. So we have got specific goals each month to do and they are very motivational and easily tracked to ensure that we do them.

What I have done is created an "Our goals" page in my 2018 planner and this is at the front so it keeps this visible to us. For those interested I will be doing a post all about my 2018 planner set up...this is coming up at the end of the month.



On a final note, Pete and I still did the walk around the house, from that I created a master task list of things to do. There are only 6 items and they are simply one off tasks that will not take a lot of effort and time. We will just spread these out over the year so they are not a big deal.

I am still to complete a post of the landscaping of the west garden....that's because the lawn got a bit wrecked and I want to fix that before doing photos!!! Anyway it's getting there so expect that soon!!!

For the other projects you can see how we planned and achieved them in the following post;

Planning the Potager garden

Build and planting of the Potager garden

Our renovations plans

I hope my sharing of our goals and achievements has helped you in your ideas and goals for your 2018.

I thought that I would end with this great little quote;

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible" - Tony Robbins

Happy Goal setting my friends!

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How to make a tiny space a great place to live

One of our long term retirement goals is to go "tiny", get ourselves a Tiny home and enjoy the freedom that it gives you, so you can jump into the next adventurous stage of your life. However living tiny can be a bit scary so getting a trial run at it would be good. And that is just what we are doing over the next three months....we've going Tiny!, downsizing , whatever you like to call it.

This came about due to our major house renovations and the need to actually stay in the home (renting just wasn't an option).  We were fortunate to have a downstairs space, our entertainment room, that we could use to live in, approx 60sqm.  So we have essentially downsized and moved into this area. So far it has been a very interesting and a surprisingly fun experience...3 months on it may not be as fun..time will tell. 

The first challenge was deciding on what to take.  Actually it was more of what not to take as the restriction of space really forced you to think what was actually essential and what was a nice to have.  So far this journey has taught me how little we actually need and use on a daily basis in comparison to the amount of stuff that we actually have.

To help me work out the need vs want I essentially "zoned" the area and worked from there. It took me a while to figure out the zones and how they would best work in terms of layout. I came up with the following zones;

  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • laundry
  • living/TV
  • Dinning
  • Reading
  • Coffee station
  • Chick zone


Yes a normal house would have all of these seperate however in our tiny space they are all in one, in other words they share the same space. 

This was the hardest area to work with as it is sooo small but needed a lot in it to make it functional.

I started with the Bathroom, using a plant to divide the bathroom from the kitchen area. In this area I used a small corner table to store bathroom essentials, making sure that I used only exisiting storage and furniture. It's tight but all we need for two people. 


Under the sink I put the kitchen cleaning and towels etc on one side and the other the bathroom items. I had to sort out and clear out a lot of items from the actual kitchen and two bathrooms and decide what to take with us. The limitation of room simply forces you to be ruthless. I thought I was pretty good being clutter free but I have seriously ramped up that skill.  

The bench top space is very small but needed to have those things we use a lot. To help with space I corralled the toaster, jug,chopping boards and blender and beside the sink we have the dish rack!!! Yes there is no dishwasher well actually there is and it's me and Pete but no machine so the one thing I did purchase was a dish rack. 

I have to say the real blessing in this area was the laundry cupboard. I took all the non essential laundry items and stored them in the basement. This meant that I could use that space for a pantry and it works perfectly. However like all other spaces I had to seriously downsize the pantry contents. 

We have used Pete's beer fridge as our fridge with the Microwave on top and on top of that is all the laundry kit, again corralled.



Out in the main area we got a large piece of wood and covered the pool table and created a kitchen island, now that was a genius move right there. I used a couple of shelves, one for the glasses and plates and the other for cooking equipment and other essential kitchen items. I have to say it all works really well. 



So boom that's the Kitchen, Laundry and Bathroom !

Living and Dinning

We have these two very ugly lazy boy chairs but boy they are the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in. I have used a couple of nice throw rugs to disguise the ugliness, put a wee table in between them and that is the living and TV zone. Behind the chairs I have separated the areas with a small cabinet. This is now the dining room zone, use of a large rug and a small dinning table in the corner really helps to zone this space. Also in front of the "Kitchen island", I have put the hall table with pot plants, this makes the separation from the Kitchen zone and the dinning room. 



Oh and I told Pete that when we actually downsize we are taking those chairs!!!  Can you ever describe a chair as heaven?

Reading and Coffee Station

This may well sound a bit silly however to make this space work for us and to ensure Pete's health and wellbeing, the ability to have a good reading area and more importantly his coffee machine was absolutely essential rather critical really!.  It took me a bit of thinking to get the coffee station sorted...actually stumped me for a while, then I struck upon the idea of using the TV corner unit. The unit was going to be stored away and unlikely to be used again in the new lounge. So it was a great opportunity to recycle it. It fitted everything on it perfectly, like it was made to be a coffee station. I could even store the coffee and tea supplies in the wee cupboard. And next door to this I just set up his reading nook, using the piano area as a shelf.  


Chick Zone 

Ok ladys, I am sure that you would understand this, I like to have a nice space where I get ready in the morning. Now I did not think that I would be able to create what I term the "chicks zone". However there was an area in the corner of the room that has a large mirror and that inspired me to create my chick zone there. I used an old dresser that again was going to be put into storage.  Placing my yummy pink sheepskin on the floor finished it off nicely.  I really love this space and it's my wee sanctuary in the morning.



I think it's now week three in the "tiny" space and I have to say it's surprisingly comfortable. Pete and I have got into our new routine of living in the confined space. You are close to each other a lot so it's a good thing that I love hanging out with him. Juggling the one sink in the morning is sometimes a bit of a battle as we both go to work at the same time. I do find it a bit annoying being constantly interrupted when at the sink!!! something I am working on!. 

Enjoy those things that bring you joy! My initial plan was to pack up most of the ornaments etc, however it was actually quicker for me to just take the items downstairs into the new space. I actually really enjoyed how I could make the areas familiar and nice with our things. I did have to select only those that I really liked, and that was in fact an easy job.

Although we have managed to put a lot of furniture and things into our new "Tiny" space there is a lot in storage! Which makes me realise how much we do not use and question the need. To be honest I do not surround myself with a lot of clutter and living tiny has taught me how to focus in on what is actually really important and meaningful. I know that when it comes to moving back into the renovated area there will be big purges going on.

Cooking is certainly the biggest challenge and it is hard to try and maintain a good amount of home cooking. The only cooking appliance we have is an electric fry pan. Thank goodness it is summer and BBQ season so we can at least enjoy eating outside and yummy BBQ food. Also my summer crops are coming into full production so we have got good supplies for salads and the stir fry dishes. Meal planning has really helped us with this challenge. I think that if we didn't mean plan we would be eating out or getting takeaways every night. For those interested you can check out our "tiny living" meal planners in my fb meal planners page  7nightsaweek

The last note and one of the best is the significantly reduced cleaning that I need to do. It is bliss not have to clean such a big house. I am amazed at how quick I can wizz around and have the place clean. I can actually do all the zone cleaning in one go! However one thing that you learn quickly is that you can't just leave things lying around as there simply is no space, so you have to learn to put things away as soon as you finish with them. There are some members of the family who are still challenged by that.

I will be sharing more photos of the renovations and our tiny space on my social media so make sure that you follow my social media sites, just click on the links below

In the new year I will be doing another giveaway, something to help you keep your home clean and tidy consistently and with effective use of your time! Now that's a good new years goal!. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter if you have not already so you can me in to win!.


I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and I'll see you all back in the new year. 

Stay safe

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How I try for a stressless Christmas.

I am so excited to be joining 11 amazing Kiwi Mummy Bloggers, in the "12 Days of Christmas - A Blog Collaboration". We have a had a fantastic variety of topics of Christmas themed posts e.g. Craft Decorations, DIY gifts, Gift Inspiration ideas, Recipes and Family traditions. Yesterday, Day 10, we got a great treat from Hey Little Sweet Thing with her recipe for those yummy Dark Chocolate and Nutella Snowball Truffles. Tomorrow is the 12th Day and the last blog and we are visiting Karen from The Fruitful Homemaker  who is going to be chatting to us about making the ultimate Christmas Smoothie . Be sure to pop over after midday and have a read.

So today, Day 11, it's my turn, a little bit of stress relief in between some tasty treats!

Let me just say up front that the title of this blog maybe a bit exaggerated, not sure that one can actually have an entirely stressless Christmas. However, over the years of running around like a chicken with its head off, I have learnt a thing or two to help prevent you being taken away in a straight jacket! So I thought I`d share what I found that helped me through this crazy season!



Plan it out!

Yes this boring old chestnut! let me say this right now, you actual have to do some planning if you want to stop simply running from one state of madness to the next. Planning does actually mean that you know what is coming next and so it actually feels like you are in some form of control.

I always started with my December calendar and marked out all the dates that I knew we had coming up. To help make sure that I got everything I would just think of all the activities and events that were coming up for all the family, such as;

  • School functions - prize giving, dinners, class picnic. lunches etc 
  • Sports functions  - end of year awards, BBQ`s
  • Family gatherings 
  • Friends get togethers
  • Work do's
  • Street parties 
  • School break dates
  • Work finish dates (if you are lucky enough to get a break)

After marking out the calendar, I worked out what was needed for each event and who had to go. I tell you that juggling the school activities while working full time is a challenge so if you can try to share this with your partner and extended family, like grandparents. Planning out the events meant that you can book in your helpers in advance, rather than ringing around the night before trying to get someone to help. Even better was working in with other parents so you can help each other out. 

Now to give yourself a bit of a treat and to help with planning, why not get yourself a Christmas Planner. I scored a Kikki K Christmas Planner in their January sales. Apart from having to re-write the December dates (2016 calendar) it's a great little planner and nice and small for your bag.


There are also heaps of printable Christmas planners, just like this one from The Fruitful Homemaker  or a little more OTT with Brilliant Business Moms which came free this year to all her email subscribers. 

Stash it

"Stashing it" can save your bacon, and did mine so many times over the years. So quite literally this just means having a  stash of presents and food for any unplanned and forgotten events and visitors. I would just buy extra boxes of Sampler biscuits pre wrap them and just pull them out like I had planned the present..boom baby. You could also do a batch of home baking and make up wee Christmas hampers or treats in a jar...for a bit of inspiration just check out these great Christmas Truffles from Hey Little Sweet Thing that would be perfect for this.

In regards to food for events, which often were "bring a plate!" it helped me to always have a "go to" dish! This was either hokey pokey biscuits or carrots and humus, for a bbq or meal, it was potato salad.

TIP 2: Stash emergency cash in the car and at home for those emergency runs to the store for a gift or for takeaways. 

TIP 3: Stash energy bars and water in the car to hold off those starving kids who are Hangry!

Buy it

This is the fun part......who doesn't love spending up a storm on christmas present. But you don't really want to go into debt doing this.

TIP 4: Have a budget and use cash only to stop you going over the budget.

If you can, list out the presents you need to buy and try and purchase a couple per week over December. The same goes with your Christmas and Holiday food,  just add a few items (non-perishable)  into your weekly shop during December, then you only need to buy the perishables closer to the day.  I found that this really helped with the budget and pressure at the end of December.

 2016 christmas , all hospice shop finds !

2016 christmas , all hospice shop finds !


Also don't forget to schedule in your shopping time. DO NOT....what ever you do, leave your shopping to the last minute, that is maximum stress level right there.

TIP 5: Go shopping on your own if you can, take the list, go to the mall, only shop for what's on your list, use cash only.

TIP 6: Christmas savings - set aside a small amount each week from the 1st Jan. I used a cash envelope and put in $20 a week plus $10 on the Pak'nSave Christmas club card. This essentially was our total Christmas budget.

 My cash envelope system

My cash envelope system


Just Relax 

I always tried to get everything done by Christmas Eve so I could just sit back and relax and enjoy being with my family. So make sure when you are planning out what you need to do to actually plan for "relax day" on Christmas eve!. 

To help you get into the relaxing mood, check out this simple cocktail recipe at Parental Misadventures

So there you have it, these are the things that I found worked for me in surviving the month of madness!

Now for this year's Christmas.....well it has to be the least stressful ever!

Our Christmas 2017

This year Christmas is very very low key.  We are renovating our Kitchen, bathroom and ensuite also decorating the lounge, master bedroom, dinning room and two guest rooms. So one half of the house is currently a demolition zone and we are living in the other half. I don`t even have the Christmas tree up, however I have managed to find some where to hang the stockings!


Our two kiddies, will be home for Christmas day, however as we don't really have any cooking facilities our dear friends are having us over on Christmas day and we will feast like Kings! 

The other tradition that we started last year and it was soo much fun, was to shop for gifts only at hospice shops and you can`t spend over $20 each person. We found some absolute gems, cheap and recycled ...the perfect gift, so we are doing it again this year. 

So now the kids are grown up it is certainly a lot calmer coming into Christmas, but it's funny as I kind of miss it!! 

Have a fabulous Christmas and enjoy the precious time with your family, even if they come in all excited at 4am!


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It's been such a privilege to have been part of the "12 Days of Christmas - A Blog Collaboration".  We have certainly been treated to some awesome blogs by 11 amazing Kiwi Mummy Bloggers. I have included a full list of all the bloggers taking part in the blog collaboration below, so you can see who has posted their blog on what day. You can also find all us on Facebook and Instagram - simply search #KMB12DaysofChristmas.


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Day 1 (1st December) My Other Name is Mum  

Day 2 (2nd December) Teacher by trade, Mother by nature

Day 3 (3rd December) Life With Lochlan 

Day 4 (4th December) Misses Mac 

Day 5 (5th December) Eva - The Living One

Day 6 (6th December) Caroline Larnach

Day 7 (7th December) KidsPlayNZ

Day 8 (8th December) Parental Misadventures

Day 9 (9th December)  Sweet Pea Homestead

Day 10 (10th December) Hey Little Sweet Thing

Day 11 (11th December) Tidying With Tania 

<---- YOU ARE HERE ----> 

Day 12 (12th December)  The Fruitful Homemaker