Puppy Love – My Two Girls






It has been way too long since I last used my camera instead of whipping out my iPhone. Looking at these photos I don’t know why I ever stopped. I guess I should blame it on convenience, which is a poor, poor excuse. Especially for someone who’s always loved photography.

Since deciding to give my website a revamp – which should be happening soon – I’ve been snapping my own pictures to use for the site, rather than buying stock images. Suddenly it’s rekindled my love of photography and I find myself leaving the camera around the house, readily available for moments like these.

PicMonkey Collage

I caught my two girls having a cuddle out in the grass like they do every day. (These two are best friends and it’s so adorable). But this time I decided to go all paparazzi in between mashing potatoes and flipping meatballs in the frying pan. I’m so glad I did, even though I only managed to snap a few before Willa came running to lick my camera lens. (The puppy, not the girl – and yes, this needs clarification).

Doing so has reminded me how important these moments are, to remembering and treasuring them. And there’s no better way than in a beautiful photo.

Updating Your Bedding

My five tips for updating your bedding

It was high time I had a change of bedding. Not just because ours had passed it’s Visual Use By Date (ick!), but because a change in decor leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. What’s that old saying? – A change is as good as a holiday. Well, I never get to go on holidays, so change I must! I didn’t have the money to splurge on some top quality bedding like I usually do, so for the sake of my sanity I decided to settle for a trip to IKEA just to freshen up my room. The splurging can wait!


The “Before”

If you follow me on Pinterest you would have seen from my many pins that I’m absolutely in love with dark blue lately. I’m talking deep, dark, all-enveloping blue. Something about it reminds me of winter (my favourite season) and curling up with a book and a blanket. So it made sense that the dark blue bedding called to me like a beacon across the great expanse that is IKEA. I all but ran to them with my arms wide open. (Though I may or may not have done this before) *Shifty eyes*

Lucky for me, my mum was in need of some new bedding too. Because of this I was able to con her into purchasing a set of my choosing just so we could swap a couple of the pillow cases. I am not a fan of a matching set. I’d much rather put together a few different pieces that complement each other – and this is my rule in all things ‘decor’. So here is how my bed came together:



I love the look of wrinkled bedding. I think it makes it look cosy and ‘lived in’, don’t you?


As you can see, I kept my black european pillows and grey cushion from the ‘before’ photo. I added my new doona cover and plaid pillow cases (thank you, mum), and finished it off with a smaller, brown cushion I pilfered from my daughter’s room, and the throw blanket I took from our living room. One thing I love about decorating your home is moving pieces from one room to another to get a new look, without having to cough up some dough!

Just for fun, here are some pics of my daughter’s bed. (I’m so jealous of all that girliness! )





If you’re in need of an update, here are my tips for a bed makeover:

Mix it up! – Don’t just throw on a matching set and walk away. Use different patterns, shades or colours on your pillow cases to your doona/duvet cover. To save money, work with what you’ve got. Keep the scatter cushions that went with your last set and work with it. Purchase a new cover that complements them. Or if you want to buy some new cushions or throws, move the old into the living room and give your couch or armchair a spruce too. Re-use!!

Use different textures – Add some knitted european pillows alongside some earthy cotton. Or to glam it up, some glitzy sequinned cushions on some otherwise simple bedding. Don’t be confined by the “matchy-matchy” mentality so many people have.

Throw blankets are a must – Give your room that extra level of comfort and homeyness. Literally toss them or drape them on the bed for a relaxed appearance, or fold it neatly to lay across the width of your bed for a tailored look. Placing it at the end of your bed will give the illusion that your bed is longer, bigger.

Use my rule for pillow placement – For a king sized bed: Place three european pillows side by side. Set four standard pillows in front of them and finish it off with three to four decorative cushions. For a queen sized bed: Layer two european pillows with two to four standard ones in front, and complete the look with two or three cushions.

Make your bed everyday – Your room will instantly look so much cleaner and tidier for it. And besides, you’ll have a gorgeous new bed to show off, even if it’s only to yourself!


If you need a little inspiration, head over to decoholic.org for a tonne of ideas. I’ll leave you with a few of my favourites…





What updates have you given your bedroom? Share them with me on Instagram!

Hosting Christmas

Anyone who knows me, knows I love hosting a party. I love entertaining as much as I love my child. It’s basically my M.O. Even when there is no party to be had I will plan one for the fun of it, or offer to help with someone else’s. (Because I am that weird party-lady who will even take over your party planning if you so much as give her an inch). Put that together with Christmas, my favourite time of the year, and you’ll find an exploding, gushing, so-excited-I-can’t-sleep Mel on your hands. This should give you an indication of how I reacted when I was asked to host Christmas last year.

Right away I knew it wouldn’t be just another ‘Christmas’ for me. No simple family gathering with paper plates and a plastic table”cloth”. Those words don’t exist in my vocabulary.


Christmas Day belongs to the husband’s family. (Mine celebrates on Christmas Eve as the Finns do – a story for another time). Usually we would swing by the hosting house, have lunch, open some presents and then be gone after a few hours. With the planning in my hands I decided to mix it up with a big family dinner.


The day began with family trickling in all morning as I pottered in the kitchen and served up an antipasto lunch. We had a spread of cheeses, quince, grissini and other fancy-shmancy crackers that I never normally buy. Dukkah and fresh bread was a hit, not to mention my paste/dip concoction of blitzed fetta and semi-dried tomato – so good! So good, in fact, that in the past my brother-in-law has taken to sandwiching the stuff between slices of bread. These were all balanced nicely with olives, stuffed bell peppers and meats, and a range of fruit and nuts. With a big meal ahead of us, grazing was the smartest idea. And of course I had to have a giant bowl of assorted chocolates for everyone to pilfer throughout the day.


My daughter’s skills, with gingerbread as her medium, were also on display!

When it came to the beverages I had set up my drink dispensers on a large, wooden crate and filled them with options of water, apple & guava juice and a fizzy, peach iced tea – the orange slices, raspberries and mint I added made it all look so pretty and summery!


For the dinner I really wanted us all to sit together. Most Christmas’s we end up plonking ourselves wherever we can find a seat or we spread out in the backyard. So, in order to make a table large enough to fit 20 people I added two trestles to my dining table. The size of it, however, meant I would have a hard time finding tablecloths to fit not only the length, but the width of my very wide dining table. To remedy this I bought two lengths of some deep blue fabric to run down it, overlapping in the middle. After adding some runners I already had, I adorned the the table with gold and glittery ornaments, bulbed votives, and I borrowed my mum’s gold-lined plates. I finished off the look with windings of some creeping potato vine.


For dinner everyone pitched in by bringing in sides, salads, and a delicious chunk of ham. I even had turkey roasting away in the oven, along with a traditional Finnish dish called Peruna Laatikko – a kind of baked mash potato. With everything under control in the kitchen it allowed the family to relax, and boy did they! I had people lounging and napping on the sofas, lending a peaceful, homey mood to the day! At dinner the meats stayed hot in a chafing dish – greatest investment ever – and everyone filled themselves with what had to be the tastiest Christmas dinner. The real cherry on top for me was seeing how happy everyone was to be seated at the same table. Mission accomplished!


The night rounded off with a giant pavlova, Christmas pudding and more than a few tipsy guests lingering till 11pm. With many compliments such as, “This was the best Christmas ever”, they all culminated to one last comment, “So…next year?” I was left feeling pretty chuffed, and it’s safe to say I tucked myself into bed that night with a smile on my face.


Binge Watching Supernatural

The hubby and I have recently been binge watching Supernatural (or Spooky, Spooky – as we call it), and I have to ask myself: Why did we not watch this show sooner? Way back when the show first started I did attempt to watch that first episode, but it was way too scary for me and the TV went off after five minutes, if that. Yes, I am a big baby when it comes to anything scary! But with hubby’s insistence I decided to give Supernatural a go.

I spent the whole first season peering over a pillow and squirming, flinching and squealing my way through every episode. *Awaits the mocking* But through all the dreaded suspense I became hooked! Since then I’ve become very desensitised (Yay, I’m all growed up!) and can watch without batting an eye. But now, oddly, I miss getting the crap scared out of me. That being said, I will NEVER visit an orchard out of fear they might just have a scarecrow who comes to life and kills people… Creepiest. Episode. Of all. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the one with the clowns…sheesh.

Now in the middle of season 8 (and fighting to avert my eyes from any spoilers of the current season 10) I can easily say this is one of my favourite TV shows.

Reasons why Supernatural has made it to my favourites:

– I never expected the show to be funny, but it cracks me up!

– Castiel… This really requires no explanation. But a simple quote should suffice. “If the pizza man truly loves this babysitter, why does he keep slapping her rear? Perhaps she’s done something wrong.”

– Sam and Dean never actually die. It’s like they’re living in Mystic Falls – no one there is ever truly dead. Which just means the fun keeps on going 🙂

– Not a reason, really, but more of a thought: Sam’s car/beast in season 6 is the sexiest car I’ve ever seen… Sorry, Dean.

– The stories, of course! Though I tend to pick up on little clues early on and predict what will happen by the end of the episode, much to hubby’s frustration. (As a writer you find these things easy to notice because you’re used to using the same tactic in your own books!)

– The random episodes where the usual setup has been changed, ie ‘Ghostfacers’, ‘Changing Channels’, has given me one of my favourite Supernatural moments:

– And those Winchester’s… So much bad-assery. So much hotness. So many teary, angsty scenes.


You can’t go wrong with that combination. Basically, if you don’t watch this show you’re an idjit.

Review – The Kiss of Deception

There are many books in my collection that I love. I mean the ones that I want to (and do) read over and over again without ever losing interest in the stories. Even though re-reading means you know what’s going to happen, I still love stumbling across those small moments that make you think, “Oh, I forgot about that!”

I am a habitual re-reader. Especially when it comes to reading a series. When a new book comes out, I have to re-read the previous books. How else will I get the whole flow of the thing, and remember all those important details? And, of course, I re-read just for the enjoyment of travelling those written roads again.

After reading The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson, I am officially adding it to that pile! Since finishing it I haven’t stopped daydreaming about the characters and the scenes that are still playing bright and vivid in my mind. TKOD is the story of Lia, a princess who runs away on the day of her arranged marriage in hopes of a normal life and a chance to fulfil her dream of falling in love. After her escape Lia settles herself in a distant village and soon meets two new strangers, unaware that one is the prince she ticked off and the other an assassin sent to kill her.

The moment I read the blurb for this book I knew I would love it, and that gorgeous cover had me sold. I eagerly awaited its release and it definitely delivered. Even the ‘log wrestling’ scene everyone was talking about on Goodreads had me grinning like a goof. I mean, what’s not to love? Two hunks vying for Lia’s affections; a very cool, jaw-dropping twist; colourful towns and people (hello, vagabond camp! – the bohemian camp of my dreams); and let’s not forget the moment Rafe brings Lia the flower garlands! *SWOON* All of this is set in a backdrop of a fantasy world that very much reminds me of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – another series on my favourites list!

After reading TKOD over only two days, it was long enough to cause me major withdrawals. I cannot wait for the next book! I might just need to re-read The Girl of Fire and Thorns (and get a Hector fix) to subdue my cravings. What can I say, I’m an addict!