Thursday, April 29, 2010

Great opening lines on real estate websites...


James and I are house hunting again. We have decided to sell our block of land and buy an older house instead. We have had 2nd thoughts about building in the area where our land is, and we also don't want to wait the 12 month turn around time for a new house to be built and completed. Patience is not my virtue.

Our land is going back on the market this weekend and our agent hopes to sell it for $30K more than we paid for it which would be fantastic.

In the mean time, we have started the gruelling task of house hunting. Some weeks I love it, jumping on Domain and seeing all the new houses for sale. Other weeks, it's so disappointing that I could cry.

Last Saturday, we viewed 10 homes, only 3 were really appropriate for our family's needs. Tomorrow we have 12 to view, but realistically won't get to all of the open homes.

My favourite part of the web browsing, is the catch phrases on each home listing to entice you to open and read more info. These are some of my favourite opening linesof the recent home listings I've been reading:

Opportunity isn't knocking, it's screaming!
This is just brilliant. Now the agents are SCREAMING for my attention.

Top This!
Simple, to the point. Top this open home. Well, I went... And it sucked.

STOP, you're home.
Warning, this is your new home. Scare tactics won't help you Mr Agent.

A pleasure to call home.
Any house that isn't a pleasure, is no house of mine. But most of the ones we viewed last weekend, were FAR from a pleasure.

I'd say, close to perfection.
Mmm, close, but not quite there. The 1970's kitchen and bathroom are a dead giveaway.

Happy memories begin here.
Yes, leave your scary nightmares behind at your old house, and move in here.

Thanks Mum, this is home.
Playing the Mum card here, which is hilarious. Can we have this house Dad? Ask your mother.

And my all time favourite:

Is this your new home?
Maybe, but probably not. In fact no, this house is next to a cemetary!

I will be adding more of these amazing opening liners as the weeks progress. I hope for my sake that we find a house sooner rather than later. I can't stand these poetic real estate agents anymore.

xx

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

5 days ago...



Date: Thursday 22nd April 2010
Venue: Lyric Theatre - Star City, Sydney
Event: The Wiggles 'Wiggly Circus' Live in Concert
Attendees: Myself, Abigail, my sister Jacki and her son Mikey.

After seeing Dora the Explorer in March, I decided to purchase tickets to see The Wiggles LIVE. Even though both Abigail and my nephew aren't into them yet, I assumed a morning at a concert full of young children and live music would be fun... And I wasn't wrong. The 2 kids loved it. Abigail spent most of the concert sitting next to my sister trying to eat a packet of biscuits in Jacki's handbag and Mikey danced in front of the seats, bewildered by the bright lights and characters dancing.

The crowd of children were much older than that of Dora's live show. The parents seemed more relaxed too, obviously with older children they could really sit back and watch / enjoy the show.

The Yellow Wiggle is my favourite for sure. He's the youngest and newest member of the group, and it shows. He actually did most of the singing and is the official band leader. We had a really fun morning and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Our next concert is Yo Gabba Gabba Live on Saturday June 5th, I cannot wait!! Abigail will be beside herself on the day.






xx

Bye Bye New Car...

I have endured the most frustrating 4 days. I cannot believe it.

After waiting 2 months for my new car, we are recinding on the contract of purchase. I won't name the dealership we bought the car from, but after some digging around, they have a known reputation for terrible customer service and shady servicing.

On Friday, we were excited to collect our Land Rover Freelander 2 4WD, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. Today my husband came to an agreement with the sales manager to recind the contract because the car was not in mint condition, despite being brand new. Covered in scratches, the whole body of the car. They refused to do a repaint on the car and refused to do anything really. They were happy for us to walk away from the contract and be on our way. In many ways, I am relieved about the whole situation. I had a weird feeling about it from Day 1. I didn't like the sales guy, nor the customer service. I actually didn't even test drive the car, only my husband did. After test driving EVERY OTHER CAR on the market in our budget, we based our decision to purchase the Freelander on logic and a little desperation.

So now, here we are. 2 months later and NO CAR. We know that if we want something new, we will have to wait for a spec model from overseas. So we are considering buying an ex-demonstrator from a dealership too.

These are the cars we are looking at this weekend.


I am in love with the new Volvo XC60 4WD. We looked at this car 2 months ago at another dealer and I fell in love with it immediately. The sales guy gave Abigail the most AMAZING red ballon while we inspected the car. I almost loved the car that little bit more, because of the perfect red balloon that came with it.

This is the BMW 3 Series Touring wagon. This is the 1st car we looked at and it was slightly out of our budget. It still is, but I am being hopeful that $20K will fall in my lap this week so I could afford this beast.


This the Audi A4 Avant wagon. This is the 2nd car we went to look at and is also out of our budget but we may have found an ex-demo available in Sydney which would be fantastic. Saw another Mum driving this over the Anzac Bridge a few weeks ago and she looked pretty cool in it. Maybe I could be that cool Mum, hahaha.


Subaru Outback AWD. We *almost* bought this car. We were having the papers drawn up, and would have taken delivery 2 weeks after that, as the car was already in stock and in the country. It's very safe and affordable, but something is holding me back. I can't put my finger on it. I was really surprised though, at how far Subaru's have come, it was really nice inside and had all the latest specs and techs inside. This would suit us too as it is suitable for alpine conditions and we could take this to Thredbo in winter and not worry about chains for blizzards etc.


So, here are. Starting from scratch all over again. I'm not going to dwell on the whole thing, because I vented all weekend about it and it's over now. We aren't buying that car and that's the end of it.

Here's to more car shopping this weekend. More sales pitches. More free coffee. And hopefully, more red balloons.

xx

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flashback Friday



After today's dramas, I thought this song was appropriate for Flashback Friday.

Also, watching Limah's facial expressions when he sings is just way too funny. Seriously, what the heck??!!

The Never Ending Story was the 1st movie I ever saw the cinemas. I went with my older sister Jacki and my Dad. I was terrified of Gmork, the werewolf villan. He was probably the most horrifying thing from my childhood nightmares. That, and Freddy Krueger. Great, now I'm going to bed thinking about Freddy Krueger... And horror movies... And the Ghoulies... And Pet Semetary... Wahhhhh

xxx

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The New Car Smell... DELAYED again!

UPDATE - I did NOT pick up my car today. The car was not in mint condition when we arrived at the dealership to collect it. I almost cried with frustration. After waiting 45 minutes at the dealership, we told them to fix the problem PRONTO and left. Cannot believe how imcompetant people can be. It's a car, how HARD is it to stick to a contract!??! 2 months I've been waiting for this car. And it arrived in the country 7 weeks ago! It's been sitting at the dealership, just delayed for various reasons.
Will update soon on the situation. I think I sprouted 50 new grey hairs after today's dilemmas.


Husband just bought us a Land Rover Freelander 2. Black exterior. Almond leather interior. Booyah! Cannot wait to take my new baby for a long drive. We are going to the beach house on Saturday for the long weekend and can't wait to break in the car on the freeway.

J and I have debated over a name for a car, which we think is both very important. My 1st car was named Snow White. My car in Singapore was just named 'Jetta' after the model of the car, we were obviously in a bad mood when we named him, haha. Husband's 1st car was named Bessie, his 2nd car that we just sold was named Alberto after the stud Italian alpine skier Alberto Tomba. At the moment, we are planning to name the new car Lando Calrissian after the General in the Star Wars movies. I am aware Lando Calrissian was a black character in the movies, and the car is black, but also because the car is a Land Rover... Lando... Land Rover... You get my drift, haha.

Here is my new car, but mine is black. Will post some pics of mine as soon as I get the keys!

xxx


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Love Songs with Richard Mercer...


At some point, I think every woman has listened to Love Songs with Richard Mercer on late night radio. Yes, that photo above is the infamous MR LOVE! I doubt many unlucky ladies in love have gained anything from his advice on love or life, but it's the only place you can listen to soppy love songs when you feel the need.

I love a good love song. A powerful ballad that makes you cry and think of your loved ones. I used to make my husband "mixed love tapes" when we were dating in high school. These tapes consisted of songs from artists such as Bon Jovi, Boyz II Men, Jodeci, All 4 One, Puff Daddy, East 17, En Vogue, Silk, Brandy. In other words, REALLY TERRIBLE love songs!!

The 90's were big on love songs such as "From this moment on, How Do I Live, Don't Wanna Miss a Thing, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, I could go on and on. Like Celine Dion's heart did in Titanic.

These are some of my favourite lesser known love songs. I love love. It's my favourite word in the english language and I often miss my nights with Richard Mercer.

xxx






This song just shatters me. I love this song. Utterly beautiful and devastating at once.



This was released as Duran Duran's career was coming to an end and some fans will say this isn't their best work. Nonetheless, I love it. It's sexy. Very sexy.



I'm so happy I got to see Human League perform about 10 years ago in Sydney. They wrote some amazing songs in their career. This is one of them. It reminds me of when there was doubt and sadness in my life and I picked myself up and turned it all around.



This is the 1st song I heard as a married woman. James and I walked out of the church to this song. It reminds us of being young in love.



This was our 2nd dance at my wedding. I danced mostly with my Dad for this song and it was lovely.



An oldie but never goes out of style. "Loving you forever, is what I neeeeeeeeed".



Sexy. So sexy.



Not the most obvious love song, but it strikes a chord with me.



Was quite a big fan of Junkie XL's production back in the early 00's and this was always my favourite song of his.



This song gets me every time. It's featured in lots of movies for good reason. Wahhhhhh



From the soundtrack of 'Cruel Intentions'. Love it. Simple and romantic.



Next love song post will include tacky 90's RNB love songs I promise.

xxx

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2 weeks ago...



2 weeks ago we took Abigail to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. We made a bee-line for the animal nursery which was only open once at 9:30am. Abigail loved petting the baby animals and walking around with other kids in the nursery. The nursey was really the highlight of the day and I contemplated hiding a baby goat under my jacket and making a run for it. We saw the cows, pigs, sheep and bulls. I felt guilty walking through the animal halls and said to James I was considering becoming a vegetarian... I couldn't look a pig in the eye for the rest of the morning.

The showbag hall was so huge, we bought Abigail 2 bags. The Dora the Explorer bag and the Sesame Street bag. As a child my favourite showbag was the "Gag Bag" for $12 jam packed with random junk. Fly in the ice cube, a fake bloody thumb to put into someones drink, woopee cushion, plastic flat vomit that you could try and cast off as your own to get out of school, that kind of stuff. I walked past and laughed when I saw it, remembering how cool I used to think all the showbags were.

We lasted 4.5 hours and that was more than enough. Highlights of the show were the animal nursery, racing pigs, the $3 Giant Slide, and watching Abigail enjoying the whole experience. Lowlights were the cost of the whole day, rough teenage kids at the rides, Robosaurus, parents feeding their TODDLERS chips and coke for lunch and most of the all, the junk factor.

I think we might go every 2nd year, if at all. Might just stick to the children's concerts that tour Australia. Next up is the Wiggles this week then Yo Gabba Gabba in June, then Disney on Ice in July. Yayayayay.

xxx















Weekend Purchases

Picked up these nice things on Saturday...






Can't wait to break in my new Converse at Gymbaroo next week. I love wearing cool shoes to Gymbaroo, I don't know why though. Most mothers wear gym clothes and trainers. Well... Not me! haha

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Story Time!

Abigail loves to read. She reads to herself at various times in the day.

But story time before bed is her favourite time of the day. We read 3-5 books every night before bed, but these 3 are her current favourites. She knows them page by page and gets hysterically excited when I say the words "ocean", "rumble" or "penguin" before story time. The anticipation is brilliant, she LOVES these books.

Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz was the 1st book in the series that I bought, and I think still her favourite. The story is short and sweet about life in the jungle. Her favourites are the Gorilla, Zebra and Chimpanzee.


Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz is so much fun to read. I actually look forward to reading this book. I almost sing the words now, I know it off by heart like Abigail. The 1st line is:
"There's a curious commotion at the bottom of the ocean, I think we outta go and take a look".
Abi loves to say "bzzt" on the sting ray's tail, squeak like a dolphin and jiggle like a jellyfish. She loves this book so much, we have to take this book on every overnighter, to Nanna's house or on holidays.



Perky Little Penguins by Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees is a fabulous story about the life of a penguin. Abi loves counting how many penguins per page, and loves seeing little baby penguins wearing floaties on their arms, just like she does in the pool. I do a special voice for the lost baby seal pup, which Abigail likes. I sound like a little scottish boy, it's really quite terrible, haha.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Currently - The April Edition

This wonderful idea is borrowed from Lauren From Texas and I love it. Thanks Lauren!

Current Book (s): Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. This is the 1st novel in the Sookie Stackhouse collection. I watched the TV series first so already have a clue about the characters and story lines, but it's definately a fun read. My next few reads will include Andre Agassi - Open and In Cold Blood by Truman Copote.














Current Playlist: Wow, too many to mention but here we go. Lots of new albums released recently but some oldish tracks here too.
Current Shame - Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Finishing the leftover Easter eggs... I have 4 left I think, but it's time to throw them out. I also had a Quarter Pounder last night and feel so guilty! But it was to help *cure* my 2 day long migraine. Greasy food always helps. So I tell myself...

Current Color: Black. I always wear lots of black. And grey. That's about it. Boring.

Current Drink: Water from my SIGG bottle. Am trying to cut all softdrink and caffeine from my life, which isn't alot, but I want to bannish it for good. So for the time being, it's water all round. I'm a slave for sparkling water with lemon which I drink on weekends.














Current Food: I recently bought this book Crunch Time Cookbook: Recipes For Rapid Weight Loss and have tried a few recipes. The portions are tiny, which is what I need to drill into my head... PORTION CONTROL. From the book this week, I'm cooking Salmon Patties, Lamb Cutlets with salad and a lean Beef Stir-Fry. Our usual family favourites are being cooked in the next week as well, Beef Tacos and Spag Bol which Abigail loves.

Current Favorite Show: I am a terrible TV addict and love my shows. We have 2 nights a week without TV, but most nights we watch a few episodes of something.
At the moment, I'm loving HBO's Big Love about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah that practices polygamy. It's so sad and disturbing at the same time. We are currently watching Season 3.
We have finally started Dexter Season 1 and while James loves it, I find it quite graphic and gory.
United States of Tara Season 2 has just started again in the US and this show is just brilliant. If you aren't watching it, start right now!

Current Wishlist:
  • A Kindle so I stop buying hard copy books and save paper. This is what I keep telling my husband, who has reservations with me buying one.
  • Blazer from The Gap.
  • Jacket from Spyder for this year's ski season. Very cool indeed.
Current Needs: Sleep. I've been struggling with little sleep all month, but the last week has been ridiculous. A facial would be lovely. A remedial massage even better! Also, finding and hiring a real estate agent to find me the perfect home.












Current Triumphs: FINALLY starting to get the wheels in motion to buy a house. We purchased a block of land 5 months ago and are reconsidering building a new house. Fortunately we can sell the land and hopefully get more than what we paid for it, but in the mean time, we need to find a house. I'm OVER apartment living in the city. So yes, the plans have started, time to get serious! Woo, more open houses on weekends.... BOO!

Current Bane(s) of my Existence: My weight. And my anxiety. Both feel out of control at the moment. *Tear*

Current Celebrity Crush: John Corbett from United States of Tara. Andrew Wyatt from Miike Snow. Alison Goldfrapp of Goldfrapp.

Current Indulgence: Reading online blogs. I've spent WAY too much time this month reading online blogs. Another reason why I will need a kindle AND/OR ipad... Also buying tickets to EVERYTHING! I have tickets to see -

  • Tom Green Live (A comedian, and that's a stretch at best. He was big in the 90's).
  • The Wiggles next week with Abigail, my gorgeous older sister Jacki and nephew Michael.
  • The Silver Rose (Australian Ballet). Date night with James. Norrrrrr
  • Yo Gabba Gabba. Hell yeah! We are in the 8th row for this. Cannot wait. I foresee myself dancing for the entire show, I know all the songs, as does Abigail... AND James! YO GABBA GABBA!
  • Warren Miller's Dynasty (A ski movie, which my siblings and I see EVERY year. It's tradition as it excited and prepares us for the season ahead).
  • Splendour In The Grass. These tickets aren't on sale yet, but I will definaly be in line to buy 2.

Current #1 Blessing: My daughter Abigail. She is blossoming into the most amazing little girl. She is my light, my love. Pictured here on a hike in Thredbo over Easter break.


















Current Slang or Saying: Calling Abigail, "missy". It's such a bad habit, she will think her name is Missy soon, so I'm trying to kerb that.

Current Outfit: The usual Autumn attire. Jeans, Converse trainers, ballet flats, Bonds jumper, Bonds tracksuit, scarves, Country Road beanie if weather permits. Almost ready to wear dresses with leggings, big coats, and I'm on the prowl for a black trench coat.

Current Excitement: The possibility of moving to Dallas, Texas, USA for 3-6 months for my husband's work. Would LOVE to have the opportunity to live in The States and experience everything it has to offer. Will know more about this very soon, if the plan goes ahead we could be there as early as June/July! YEE-HAW!

Current Mood: Exhaustion. Confusion. Tired. Anxious. Nervous. Overwhelmed. But loved... which is all that matters.

Current Link: Perez Hilton and DListed for all my tasty gossip treats. I don't buy any magazines anymore, after calculating that I had a $100 a month magazine habit. Husband wasn't too impressed either when I told him. I know the gossip mags/websites are pure trash, but I'm drawn to them. I really need to know how many more plastic surgeries Heidi Montag is going to have... NOT!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Film
















Reality Bites is a surprising cult classic, a film that many Gen X's hold dear to the heart. The soundtrack defines the movie and the cast, excluding Winona Ryder, were all relatively unknown back in 1994. I do find Ethan Hawke rather annoying during the whole film.

Watching Lelaina, Troy, Vickie, Sammy and Michael secure jobs, stealing snickers bars from a news stand, falling in love and exploiting petrol cards was nothing I could relate to as a 13 yr old, but I loved it nonetheless.

It's a hopeless romantic comedy and quite pigeonholed but still fun and engaging. I particularly like Troy telling Lelaina that she looks like a doily on her 1st date with yuppy cheeseball Michael.

The trailer is pretty tragic though, take a trip back to 1994...

Music

This is the song that I never skip on my ipod. It's impossible to skip this song. It's infectious and warm. It's lovely and sad at once.

This song reminds me of friends at my old place of work. We had an inhouse music system and I would always queue this song to be played on a slow afternoon or quiet morning. No-one ever got sick of it either. It's just simple and I love love love it.

Music

I'm feeling very musical tonight so here's another all time fav.

I first heard this in the movie "Fear" starring Reese Witherspoon. Then fell in love with the song watching Buffy and Angel dance at 'The Prom' in Season 3 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

While I usually don't like covers more than the original version, this cover is just sublime. The Stones version is amazing, but this is just... devine.

Music

This is definately in my top 100 all time favourite songs. I can listen to it whenever, wherever. I wasn't the biggest Guns N' Roses fan, not like my husband who LOVED them like every other teenage boy in the 90's.

The filmclip is fab too. Tight leather pants. Dust. Slash. A church. A wedding. The most important things to Axl Rose at the time.

Solo mission to GAGA























Wednesday April 7th 2010
Sydney Entertainment Centre
Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour Live in Concert

I hesitated for so long to buy tickets to Lady Gaga's Monster Ball tour of Australia. I waited so long, that I actually missed out on tickets.

Friends went to her other Sydney shows and raved about her crazy antics, brilliant costumes and surprisingly great live vocals.

I have been a fan of Gaga since Day 1 of her career and don't take her songs too seriously.

Since all of her shows had sold out and after rave reviews, I decided to hop onto ebay and see what the going rate was for tickets. I can't believe people make a LIVING from scalping tickets. Before moving to Singapore when I worked for inthemix, we wrote an article in 2006 for our annual magazine about the life of a full time scalper. We were astonished to hear of his profits and little secrets he did to buy the best tickets.

I refused to pay the inflated prices for terrible seats and left it at that. Well no, I whined all the way home from our Easter holiday saying how upset I was that I missed out on tickets. I called Ticketmaster at 5pm on the day of the concert and asked if they had any tickets. Well low and behold, they had just released some single seats in the side view section for $89. $89!! In Row A as well. Even better... The scalpers wanted $200 for REAR VIEW seats! Since it was so last minute, I decided to go on my own. And I don't regret it. James and Abigail dropped me off at the concert, I felt like a teenager all over again.

She was brilliant. Not the best vocals in the world, but still great live. Her costumes were amazing. Her dancers were average. Her stage set-up was extravagant and crude. She simulated masturbation to the crowd during at least 2 songs and talked about homosexuality, sex, politics and money. I cringed for the parents who had brought their 8 yr old daughters to the show. I'm sure those girls asked lots of questions on the car ride home!

From the crowd's reaction, I predict most fans were new as they didn't seem to know music from her 1st album. Bad Romance, Telephone, Poker Face, Speechless, Just Dance and Love Game were the favourites.

Would I see her again? Possibly. Another stellar album with original pop music would seal the deal. Has Gaga sold out? Yes, a little. I want to see more of her walking around in London, carrying a purple tea cup.









Monday, April 12, 2010

13 days ago...

We left on our Easter break 13 days ago... Where have the last 2 weeks gone??

The McKinnon trio packed up the car and headed south to our holiday house in Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains.

The usual 5.5 hr drive took 8 hours, with 2 stops on the road for meals, a detour in Canberra due to roadworks and then a 1 hr grocery shop in Jindabyne. 8 hours, it took us 8 long hours to get there. By the time we arrived, we felt like zombies! Abigail was especially brilliant on the car trip and slept most of the way.

Our family holiday house in Thredbo is located up on the mountain, and in the winter, we ski down to the lifts which is probably the best thing in the entire world! Anyone who has ever walked more than 10 metres in ski boots will understand how amazing ski-in / ski-out accommodation is.

We settled in and unpacked our bags for our 5 night getaway. Abi loved sitting in front of the fire and watching the flames twist and turn. We spent the next 6 days shopping and eating in the village, walking around the streets of Thredbo, taking Abigail to the playground and the Leisure Centre where she and James rode the waterslide.

On Easter Sunday after the overhyped easter egg hunt in the park, we decided to take Abigail up the chairlift to the top of the mountain. As soon as we sat on the chairlift, I felt sick. Vomit worthy sick. Abi was just sitting on James's lap with a unsafe looking bar holding her in. James assured me he was holding her so tightly that breathing would have been a struggle for her, but I still felt sick. She sat very still and watched the mountain bike riders zooming down the hill. She was very calm and enjoyed the 10 minute ride to the highest skiable point in Australia. I can't imagine how scary it is when you have 3 young kids on the lift with you, swinging their skis and swaying the chair. Mum told me she used to scream at us to sit still on the chairlifts when my siblings and I took our annual ski vacation. Poor Mum!

The days were lovely with sunshine but a cool breeze. The nights were very chilly, Easter Sunday the temp dropped down to 1.5'c and it was very fresh indeed! We bought Abi some gorgeous Croc winter boots with a fleece trim. I couldn't resist, as they were 60% in the shop.

We hired a hiking pack and took Abigail on a 2.5km walk around the Golf Couse and river which she loved. Poor James with the pack on his back, was left quite breathless at times as the altitude in the village is 1365m (4478ft!) above sea level.

We are considering going down for opening weekend which is the 2nd weekend of June, but are not 100% sure yet. It is a long way to drive for a 3 day weekend. We have our eye on a pair of baby skiis for Abigail and James is keen to have her on the slopes this winter. Mind you, slopes = flat area and you never know how long a 2 yr old will last on the snow wearing 5kgs of ski clothes.

Pulling into Sydney was uneventful, no Easter traffic and it was good to be home.

Last Easter we were in Hong Kong, enjoying the sights and tastes of modern Asia. This year, we enjoyed the local feel of a very dear place to our family and can't wait for our next alpine adventure.









































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