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The Christmas wrap up - 2015

 As a blended family, our Christmas' consist of running around usually dropping off and picking up kids during the main days. We haven't still, created our own "tradition" as such and usually by the end of the Christmas week, I'm tired and my belly is full.  We also celebrate birthdays. Before Christmas, Molly turned 18. Again, 18! Time flies people. In the blink of an eye, kids grow up. Our littlest also celebrated a birthday and turned 4. So as well as trifle, spreads of food to die for and lots of wine and get togethers, we have CAKE!  I also was really, really, really tempted to buy some tickets and just "pop" over to Bali for a few days, because... Bali. Alas, my head was smart though and while looking at the flight websites to find the cheapest deals, flights were disgustingly expensive. I'll just have to hang the 145 days till the next trip!  So here's the McLean wrap up kiddos! Merry Christmas everyone!  Epic Trifle - I must say!   

I'm gonna write a book!

  Image via Pinterest   Our renovations are so nearly complete that I’m just bursting to take photos of the place and put a post up here on the blog about the process, how it looks and crack open the champagne to celebrate the completion of a 7 year project. The final touches are being made. Steve has worked countless nights after work, putting the little finishes on. It’s so getting there. I’m so excited! One of the best bits of finishing this renovation, was FINALLY pulling out all of my books and also my treasured green depression glass collection {it’s my thing} that was all carefully wrapped up and stored underneath the house over 5 years ago. With walls coming down, sanding, painting, nailing, drilling and oh a new baby, they were all tucked away. The other week, we went to Ikea and bought some bookshelves for our display. Steve has an ubber collection of model classic cars that were also stored underneath our abode – time was here to dust it all off and make our space feel

The art of Christmas Card Writing. Is it over?

 I have friends that revel in the time that is Christmas. You know the type, that have their Christmas decorations all laid out ready for the 1 st December with the anticipation of have the tree up on the first day of the silly season.   I am. Not one of those people. Last year I wrote a post how I may be the Christmas Grinch . Not a fan really. But for the kids, every year I lug out the McLean Xmas tree and we decorate in our own style. You know, when you throw the tinsel and shove the lights on and put every single bobble and bit on randomly? It looks glorious in my eyes! Circa 2014..........       We had success this year with a visit to Santa. There were no tears and even though the look can be mistaken as a friendly connection between the two, it was infact a “I’m just checking that your still next to me and not getting any closer.”   Clearly, mum was having a great time!   But there is one thing that I have enjoyed every year at Christmas time. It is the dying art of

In letting go, I'm growing as a Mother

 2015 has been a massive year for us. We have had some really huge highs as well as epic lows. It’s also been a year of growth, of re-confirming what is really important in life and ensuring to savour moments, family and friends. I have always known that this mother-hood gig would be a journey, especially with the experience that I have had with my first, Ethan. For many years in the early days it was really, really hard. It felt like a never-ending day, with no break of trying to work out how to mother him the best way I could. My little boy was diagnosed with Autism when he was two years old. He screamed for hours on end. He would smash his head against the walls in his bedroom out of frustration. He flinched when I tried to console him or cuddle him. He would look at me but through me, doing anything possible to avoid eye contact. I was, at the best of times an exhausted mess trying to just, do it. Looking back, I’m not sure how we did get through it. How he got through it. How S

I got offered $300 to do a post on my blog and why I said no.

     Image via Pinterest   I’ve been blogging now for nearly 2 years. I've been writing as a hobby for over 15 years {mind you with an 8 year hiatus from it – you know, kids}. I’ve mentioned here before how the main purpose of this blog was an outlet for me – to rediscover my love of the written word and also to have something for myself, which is mine. I know it sounds soooo cliché. But it’s true. I have always hoped that as well as doing this for the love, it would be an extra bonus if I would be able to gets some rewards, monetary wise by writing here. And I’ve had some great opportunities come my way. Some sponsored posts where companies and businesses have reached out to me to review a product and write about it in exchange for its use. It’s been great. But I’ve always, always known that I would only do sponsored posts if: If it was a product that I was actually interested in A product that my readers, YOU would be interested learning more about Stood right with me

Nusa Lembongan. This little island off Bali.

Nusa Lembongan has recently become my most favourite place in the world. We visited this tiny island on our last trip to Bali. Imagine what Bali would have been like 30 years ago and that is how it feels stepping onto Lembongan. There is no traffic, no stallholders hassling you. The pace over there is slow, relaxing and exactly what we needed for a 2-day stop over to chill out, refuel and explore. It was the highlight for me of our trip, and when we return back to Bali – I will be booking at least 4 nights over on this untouched paradise. The details that you need:     Image via Pinterest Getting there  Nusa Lembongan is a 12km boat ride east of Bali. A number of boat charters head to Lembongan from Sanur with up to 3 boat rides there daily. We chose Glory Boats. Return boat ride with transfers from you hotel cost approx 500,000 Rp ($50 AUD).  Check out Glory Fast Boats site here for more information.   Where to stay There are many accommodation options for all budgets on L - Micro-Financing helping to alleviate poverty

   Earlier this year, back in July, I signed up to become a Kiva lender . If you’re not sure what a Kiva lender is, in a nutshell it is a non – profit organisation that was established in October 2005 with a mission to connect people through lending (micro-financing) to alleviate poverty. I loaned $25 to this lady from Bali, Indonesia, her name is Harini and it was to help her buy more fish to sell through her business.     Her total loan through Kiva was $750. That’s over one million rupiah and in rural Bali that is A LOT of money.  To give you some perspective, the minimum wage per month is approx 1.6 million Rupiah (approx $161 AUD) I’ve already received 2 updates from Kiva since my initial sign up and lend. Harini’s latest repayment which I received a couple of days ago means that she has already paid off $3.13 from my $25 loan to her. I love getting updates like this. I love knowing that in a small way, my ability to provide a micro-finance loan to Harini is helping her