Wednesday

Welcome to our beach house!

Who's ready for another room reveal...??

They've been coming thick and fast lately. I've been decorating my little heart out this year! If you're new here, we've just moved out of our River House and relocated to the beach. (You can read more about our move here.)

Come on in to our new abode and let me give you a tour.

Beautiful beach house room reveal by A house full of sunshine for Practically Functional!

If you read my last post, you will know that we started with this modern coastal mood board:

A modern coastal mood board by A house full of sunshine for Practically Functional

And here's where we ended up!

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Beautiful beach house living room reveal from A house full of sunshine for Practically Functional!

That teal sofa.... oooh la la. I just love it! It really makes the room. You've gotta have a signature piece, and this is it for this particular space.

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I just adore this coral shaped bowl. It's beachy but abstract, and the pewter/ silver finish gives it a modern glam edge. I love sourcing unique one-off pieces from local stores - this was from Something Different Coastal (in Yeppoon) for any locals.

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I love how the silver of the coral platter is picked up in the drum stool.

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I put together a little side table vignette with a noughts and crosses game, a carved wooden herringbone box, and a sprig of artificial succulents and gum-nuts in a little vase of clear resin.

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Can we just talk about this artwork for a minute? It is HUGE. It takes up the entire wall - and I love it! So perfectly beachy, and it helps tie all the colours together.

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I found an interesting glass lantern and filled it with shells.

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The rug is simply gorgeous. It's also woollen and sheds like a moulting sheep. I can vacuum that floor in the morning, and by afternoon it looks like a giant cat named Fluffy with serious hair-loss issues just spent five hours rolling around on the floor. I keep hoping if I vacuum it enough, it will stop shedding some day soon. Clearly, I just don't vacuum it enough.

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I found some lovely white vases with organic shapes that play off the fake palm, and grouped them on the TV unit.

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On the other side of the room is the buffet.

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Of course, I had to group lots of glass and ceramic vases on top.

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The wicker lamps add some symmetry and, you know, coastal vibe and all.

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Plus can we just take a moment to admire those stunning indigo seaweed prints?

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Next to the lounge is the open-plan dining room.

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The star piece in this simple, light-filled area is that oversized driftwood mirror.

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There's something about this picture that makes me feel like I should live in a farmhouse. It's so wholesome and rustic and also modern and classic. I'm not sure whether it's the replica Tolix chairs and chunky wooden table, or that simple rope-handled platter of rosy apples. Whatever it is, it's giving me the urge to start churning my own butter and baking my own bread. (An urge that will never actually turn into reality... let's not get too carried away.)

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Here's that mirror again. I really wish I made it. Except if I did, I'm sure it wouldn't look this good.

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And back around to the living room.

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What do you think? I loved seeing it all come together from mood board to finished room. It has exactly the relaxed, modern coastal style I was going for. Of course, we've only just moved in and I still have a few tweaks I'd like to make here and there.... but I'm super happy with where we're headed!

Let's chat - anybody else obsessed with that teal sofa? Are you a fan of coastal style? Do you ever decorate from a mood board?

Source list
Freedom Furniture:
Couches (these styles not currently available), Cancun buffet, Cancun TV unit, Stockholm coffee table, Rug (not currently available), Drum stool, cushions, Autumn shore canvas, seaweed prints (not currently available), white ceramic vases, Twine wicker lamps, Driftwood mirror.

Super A-Mart:
Industrial Dining Table, Rocket Dining Chair (currently available in black, bronze or steel) 

Harvey Norman:
Typographic cushion, Herringbone box, white vessel, glass lantern, miniature vase with gumnuts, large resin shell

Other:
Artificial palm - Joyce Mayne
Woven basket - Bunnings
Coral platter, palm cut-out vase, assorted shells - Something Different Coastal
Blue glass vases - Target
Wooden rope-handled platter - Pillowtalk

Monday

Our beach house.... a modern coastal mood board

So last week I filled you in on our crazy news... we've just moved house.

We're looking around at the moment for our dream block of land... the one we'd love to settle down on and NOT MOVE AGAIN. Like, ever. (Says the girl who just finished moving house for the third time in three years.)

So meantime, we've moved into a rental at the beach. We're making a sea change. And yes, that makes us sound approximately sixty-five years old. It's only half an hour's drive from the city where we used to live, in this sleepy little seaside village known as Zilzie. I love it - walking to the beach with the kids, the sea breezes, the beautiful ocean views. I also wonder whether the smallness of this place is going to drive us crazy. Time will tell.


The really hilarious thing is that the house we're living in now belongs to my husband's company. Up until we moved in, it was being used as a holiday rental. And one of my jobs this past year was to fully furnish and decorate it. I did this as a commercial job, for the purpose of being used by holiday renters, never knowing that in less than six months' time we would actually have cause to move in there ourselves.

Lucky I always choose stuff I actually really like myself, right?

It's worked out beautifully, because our River House is now being used as a display home with all our furniture still in it. So it was awesome to have a fully furnished house to move into. You know, because we enjoy not sleeping on the floor and all. It's actually been one of the smoothest moves we've ever done. The house was completely set up with everything we need to survive including linen, crockery and essential kitchen appliances. So it wasn't one of those stressful moves where you have to get beds assembled and made up and stock the new loos with toilet paper and feed and bathe the children when you can't find the can opener or which box you put the towels in, all in one desperate rush before nightfall. It's actually been quite relaxing, as far as moves go - we've been able to move our stuff across and unpack it in dribs and drabs. I still don't feel completely settled, but we're getting there slowly.

The likelihood is that we'll be here for about a year. By that time hopefully we'll have found the right block of land
(in the same coastal area) and finished building our own house. We could always buy something, but building is our "thing". My husband's good at it and knows all the right people, and I love being able to choose everything just the way we want. Well, as budget allows, of course.

But back to the house we're in right now. When I was given the job of decorating this home, I knew right away that a relaxed coastal theme would be perfect for the location and lifestyle. The trick was to catch the beachy vibe, without being cheesy about it. Instead, my goal was to create a modern coastal feel that was both sophisticated and comfortable.

Here's the mood board I came up with for the living area:

Modern Coastal Mood Board: a modern coastal feel that is sophisticated, comfortable, and perfect for the beach!

Everything in this room was sourced from Freedom Furniture, because well, I do love that store. It's a decorator's delight.

Ever wondered how a decorator goes about putting together a whole-room concept? Well, I'll be honest, I usually just go with my gut and choose stuff I like. I seem to be able to visualise pretty easily how it's all going to come together. But I know that answer is not all that helpful for people who find it hard to visualise, or people who look at an empty room and freak out at the endless possibilities. (Anybody relate?)

It's helpful to start with a theme: I always have a "story" in mind, a feel I'm trying to create. The rest is a fairly intuitive process for me, but when I step back and analyse the decisions I make, there are specific design elements I always take into account. Perhaps it would be useful for some of you if I broke those down.

So, let's talk through the elements I considered here.

Colour

For a modern spin on ocean hues, I've combined a palette of indigo-blue, white, and sand, with a striking teal sofa and an accent of silver in the drum stool. The buffet is whitewashed timber, the colour of sun-bleached driftwood.

You don't want everything too matchy-matchy, so it's a good idea to choose different tones and hues of the same colour. Teal, indigo and aqua are all variations on the colour blue. This adds depth and interest and stops it feeling cheesy. The painting ties several shades of blue, sand and white together in the one piece.

Shape

Danish mid-century design is enormously popular for its clean, spare lines - still as stylish today as ever. I chose two sofas that contrast in colour, shape and size. The thing tying these seemingly eclectic choices together? The style of the sofas. Both are button-backed with mid-century lines, so they hold hands nicely together in a room.

The coffee table is a modern take on Scandinavian design, with the classic combination of white and beech. The round table top brings softness to the room - it's more inviting than one with sharp corners. A circular shape also works better with two different-sized sofas, especially in a smaller space.

Texture

Nothing says "coastal" more than layers of texture. The shag-pile rug evokes the softness of sand beneath feet; the vertical-stripe pillows have a canvas-style texture reminiscent of sails, while the lamps bring that essential touch of woven wicker to the room. The oversized wall art has a thick impasto texture on the surface - a lovely, tactile feature in a painting.

My favourite textural element is the driftwood mirror, which has to be seen to be believed. It's enormous, and really "makes" the room.

Repetition and unity

If you want an element to make an impact, repeat it. The striking seaweed prints hanging above the buffet are a great example of repetition in this room. Together, they have a far greater impact than alone.

Repetition can also be used to create unity. The sandy tones of the floor rug are picked up in the light tan and black pillows, which I placed against the teal sofa. The blue velvet pillows were thrown on the grey sofa. In this way, a colour from one part of the room is repeated in a different part of the room, which creates a cohesive effect.

*  *  * 

When coming up with a room concept you love, considering design elements such as colour, texture and unity can make a real difference to the overall feel of a room.

Next up I'll be showing photos of how it all came together! So excited to share!

Let's chat: Do you enjoy decorating, or do you find it overwhelming and difficult to know where to start? Do you consciously consider things like colour, shape and texture, or do you just go with your gut? Who here is a fan of coastal style? 

Thursday

One year Blogiversary! (and a cash giveaway!)

It all began one year ago today.

Actually, it's kind of hard to pinpoint when exactly this blog started, because it went like this:

I got this crazy whim to start a blog - kind of as an online journal of what I was doing with my kiddos at home: a way to motivate me to try a few more creative things with the boys. I was heavily pregnant with my third child at the time. My first two boys were three and two years old, respectively. (Clearly, timing is not my strong suit.)


I set up a Blogger account with a spectacularly awful free template and wrote a handful of lame posts that nobody ever read. This was the first: Indoor "Sandpit" - sensory play with rice.


Then, 4 weeks later, I had a baby, and spent the next 6 months focussed on important things such as facilitating wartime negotiations between siblings, trying my darndest to make enough milk to feed my baby (not such a success), averting toddler tantrums, and locking myself in the toilet where no-one could find me. (Unfortunately they always did.)


All that time, with my fizzled not-quite-blog set squarely on the back-burner of life, I couldn't shake it out of my mind. I didn't know exactly how I would fit it back into my jam-packed life, but I knew that when it came time to re-launch, I wanted to do it properly. One thing I'd learned in my brief foray into the world of blogging: it kinda sucked writing stuff that nobody would ever read. I definitely didn't have time for that.

So I kept toying with the idea, and gradually as I emerged from the fog of newborn sleep-deprivation, it became more clear and real and exciting to me. I started reading up about it. Spent months, in fact, researching a whole heap of stuff.  Began analysing blogs I loved to see what made them successful, and what tips I could glean from them. Decided that I needed to expand my original concept of the blog as a kids' activity resource to also incorporate my passion for interior design, which I'd been doing freelance for years. Set up social media accounts to promote the blog. Bought my domain name. Paid to get a proper site design made. Learned how to use a DSLR camera and how to use Photoshop to create "pins".

Then.... eventually....

Exactly one year ago today, in fact....

I took a deep breath, and launched.

And A house full of sunshine was born.

This was my very first post from the newly minted www.ahousefullofsunshine.com: (You can click on the image to take you to the post)


I'll scatter more blog images from this past year throughout the the rest of this post - from the popular to the forgotten favourites. It'll be fun to see how many you remember! Just click on any image to take you to the post.

From my floundering, amateur start, it seems almost surreal to me today that A house full of sunshine now gets well over 160,000 page views every month. We have over 1500 subscribers in this community, and 7000+ followers across social media. I still have to pinch myself that all this has happened in just one year.


On the other hand, I don't feel in any way as if I've "arrived". It may sound strange, but I still battle with my own high expectations of where I want to be. Really, I'm a very, very small fish in a very, very big pond of amazing home and mummy bloggers. I'll be honest and admit that I still fight feelings of failure quite frequently. Whenever I put up a post that gets no comments, I shrink a little bit inside. People might be commenting all over Facebook and sharing and pinning, but no comments on a post still leaves me feeling a bit.... exposed. Like a performer who finishes a routine and nobody claps. It's quite an odd feeling. Not even an accurate feeling, of course, because I know the truest expression of appreciation people can give is to share a post with their friends, and I've been blessed with the most generous and kind-hearted sharers in all the blogosphere. And so many of you do take the time to comment regularly, which I know is not always easy with the busy lives we all lead. I'm honestly so grateful for that.


I found myself praying about this just the other day. Once again, turning it all over to God and repenting of my need for human affirmation. Because truthfully, a blog will never validate me as a person, no matter how successful it may become. Case in point: I struggle more with feelings of failure now than I did back when I was lucky to get 1,000 views a month. The bigger the platform becomes, the more vulnerable it can make you feel. That's something I never expected. Only God can fill us up from the inside with true affirmation and a sense of unchanging value that doesn't depend on blog statistics or likes or shares. Because something I've learned? Chasing after those things is depleting and exhausting. I can't control the outcome of a post: all I can do is work hard and do my best, then put it out there, let it go, and move on to the next project.


Well. I didn't mean to get all deep and philosophical when I started writing this post. I guess it comes of taking stock and reflecting on this blogging journey. The day-to-day of running a blog is so intensely busy that I guess I don't usually stop to think about it too deeply. But milestones have a way of causing you to reflect.

And that's a good thing. I think I've been so focussed on the "now", keeping up with the daily demands of blogging, and on the future - looking ahead to where I want to be - that it's easy to lose perspective. It's like I'm halfway up a mountain, most of the time staring at my feet as I slog up a steep path one step at a time, occasionally lifting my eyes to the faraway peaks with a little swirl of discouragement in my belly at how far there still is to go. At how many things I still need to fix, sort out, do better, figure out. I see other climbers far ahead of me on the path and sometimes wonder if I'll ever catch up.


But today I'm taking the chance to stop and look back at how far I've come. And the amazing thing? The view is beautiful from here.

I see the path I've walked curving down away from me, a path that represents hundreds of hours of hard work and effort, of one foot placed in front of the next. I think of the word God gave me at the beginning of this journey, my "One Word" for 2014: FAITHFUL. And that's what I've tried to be, to honour the God who called me to this journey.


I've worked up a sweat, walking this path. I've battled anxiety and exhaustion and overwhelm. At times, it has all felt like too much. I've struggled with how to fit in the sheer quantity of hours required to do this blogging thing "well", when I already work full-time as a Mum, and part-time as a decorator. There have been more late nights than I can count. Times when I've just longed to do nothing in the evening, read a book, watch TV, have some downtime, instead of finishing up my day-job with the kids and then turning around already exhausted to begin the night shift with client work and blogging. At those times, one word has kept me going. FAITHFUL. I've chosen to be faithful, even when I couldn't see the results. Even when it felt so often in the early days like I was talking to myself. Even when I was tired. (And what Mum isn't?) Even when struggling to balance work with the demands of life.


And what a year it's been. We've just undergone our second house move in the space of one year. The first move came four weeks after launching this blog, which was the same month we learned that our daughter had a rare medical condition and required eye surgery. We've completed our first development, I've decorated two houses (the second is the one we've just moved into - photos coming up next week), I've taken on lots of private decorating clients for the first time since quitting commercial decorating post-kids, and I've also written and launched a book. It has been one of the busiest years of my entire life. Looking back, I don't even know how we managed it all - all I can think is God's grace.



But as I pause today on the side of this mountain, I feel a sweet breeze cooling my damp skin. I see vistas opening up below me, a view I never would have been able to see had I not struck out on this journey and toiled so hard to carry it through. And I know beyond doubt that God is the one who is faithful. He could always see what I could not. His view is so much higher than mine. My job has just been to put one foot in front of the other. And that's what I'll continue to do for as long as he tells me to.

When I look back over this past year? The most overwhelming feeling I have is one of gratitude. 



I'm grateful to all of you who've stuck with this community, despite my often erratic posting schedule as I've found my blogging feet and struggled to balance motherhood with work.

I'm grateful for the ways God has confirmed that this is exactly what I'm meant to be doing, right now, in this season of my life.

I'm grateful for blogging, which has given me the creative outlet I desperately needed.

I'm grateful for the ways it's spurred me on to finish projects, carry through on my plans, and make our home a beautiful place for our family to live in. Yes, it's been hard work, but I could not think of a job I could possibly love more. To have the chance to do creative projects, decorate, organise, brainstorm new kids' activities... all the things I'm passionate about and love to do... and then share the inspiration with others: it's a dream come true.


I'm immensely grateful for the readers who reach out with a beautiful note or letter of encouragement, often right when I most need it.

I'm grateful I even have readers, from all over the world, which is something I can still hardly get my mind around.

Yes, I have a heart full of thankfulness. And I'm excited about 2015. One of the biggest changes I've made in recent weeks is to hire a VA (a virtual assistant) to help me manage the back-end of blogging which I was getting so bogged down in. She's an angel straight from heaven who is helping me out with administration and social media, and already it's freeing me up to spend more time creating fresh content and thinking big-picture with the blog.


My goals for the next year of blogging? I have a few. I'll be changing my blogging platform over to Wordpress. It's something I've wanted to do for ages, and the reasons I need to do it keep piling up. What it will mean for you guys is a better, more intuitive site design that should hopefully be easier to navigate, and best of all, it will be MOBILE RESPONSIVE. Gah - so important.

I would love to start seeing some financial return for the time I put into this blog. That is especially important for my husband, so he sees this as a legitimate business venture and not an all-consuming waste of time. Ha! I get it, I really do. I need to contribute to this family, and my time has value. So, I need to study and learn. I do know that for the amount of traffic I'm getting, I should be earning I lot more than I currently am. Blogging is no get-rich-quick scheme, let me tell you. I earned more working at Pizza Hut when I was sixteen years old.


Another big goal I have for this year is to balance the home and kids posts better. I plan to have one kids' activity post and one home post up every week, so you better know what to expect in your inbox. My aim is to also include a third post each week, whether it's a recipe, some thoughts on parenting, or a round-up of craft or decor ideas from around the web. There's honestly SO MUCH I want to blog about - my brain is constantly buzzing with excitement and new ideas I am dying to share! - but I have to be realistic and work with the time I have.


So, another goal is to achieve a better work/ life balance. I would like to go to bed before midnight and get a decent night's sleep again. I need to build in some margin for downtime, because this pace is not sustainable. I want to read books for pleasure again, and not feel like I'm "wasting time." Toward that end, I'm aiming to launch a book club in the New Year. One novel per month. If you're a reader, I hope you'll join me.

I have more goals - up-skill myself in photography and particularly photo editing, guest post more, comment on other blogs more (I know how much it means to me!), submit to magazines.


But for now, I'm taking my eyes off those distant peaks and pausing in the journey to feel the breeze and the sunshine. I'm looking back at the path behind and thanking God for how far he's brought me.

Is it too honest to admit that I've been teary several times in the writing of this post? This blogging thing... I never expected it. The immensity of it. The challenge, and also the reward. The feeling of being right in the centre of God's will, and also knowing it's going to take every ounce of courage and determination I have to stay there. And, the joy. The rush that comes from making over a room and sharing it with others; the fun of learning photography; the pleasure of stringing words together (I love words, love to write); seeing the spark in my kids' eyes when I show them the fun activity I have planned; coming up with creative new ideas for my home; forming connections and friendships with bloggers and readers from all over the globe; launching my first book baby out into the world and getting heartfelt letters from people saying how much it's meant to them. Yes, it's been a joy.



Here's to One Year, A house full of sunshine. What a year it's been.

THANK YOU, friends, from the bottom of my heart, for being here with me.

To express my thankfulness, I'm offering a Blogiversary giveaway, just for being here. This giveaway is for $100 PayPal CASH to help with that Christmas shopping. It's open worldwide. You only need to complete one option of your choosing in order to enter, but each additional option you complete will give you extra entries into the contest if you so desire. Good luck! And please feel free to share with your friends so they have a chance to enter, too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Let's chat: How long have you been following along with this blog? Has anyone been here right from the very start? Do you have a favourite room, project or activity from the blog this year? What would you like to see more of in the year ahead?

Tuesday

Some seriously crazy news... and a complete home tour: our river house!

So anyway.... I have a confession to make.

We have just moved house.

It seems crazy, I know. Didn't we only just move in? YES!! Less than one year ago, in fact. We moved in two weeks before Christmas last year. 

When we built our last home, we always knew we'd be there short-term. We moved there so we could complete a land development: a boutique estate called Freshwater Pier. (If you're new here, my husband is a property developer, so he does lots of this sort of thing. This is the first time we've steered a project like this ourselves, however.)


Here's a shot of our house as it sits on the site. This was taken just after the development was completed. Things have moved even further since then - there are now two more houses under construction, 4 blocks sold and another 2 under contract. There are currently only 4 blocks left, so if you're a local, you need to get in quick! For a newly-released estate, we've been thrilled with how fast things have moved, especially in such a quiet (aka totally dead) market. 

I do believe the reason is this:


Pretty, right? This is what it looks like at the end of the driveway and down an embankment. We love walking down here with the kids in the afternoon. It's such a peaceful spot on the river. 

Also, the estate is in South Rockhampton, a very popular part of town where it's becoming more and more difficult to find vacant land to build on, so that's another reason Freshwater Pier has done so well in a depressed property market. 


Anyhow, with the development all finished, my husband's company is now using our house as a display home for the estate. 

It all came down to one question: did I want to live in a display home with three very small, precocious children and a wonderful but extremely messy husband? 

No. No, I did not. 

I could imagine exactly how that one would go. Hands up who's ever seen a display home with apple cores under the beds and dirty dishes in the sink and crayon on the walls? 

Yeah. We got the heck outta there. 


It all looks very serene and lovely and magazine-like now that we're not actually living there any more.  However, we did have some professional house photos taken before we left. (I won't talk about the massive amounts of effort and coercion it took to get the house to this state, with all three small children still within said house. We'll just pretend my house looks like this all the time, 'kay?) 


(Good. I like you. You have a great imagination.)

With pretty professional photos in hand, I took the opportunity to finally update my "Home tour" tab (you can see it in the coral-coloured navigation bar in the header.)

I now have TWO complete home tours up in the space of two years. And soon to be adding a third. 'Cos we're crazeeeee like that.

When you click on the Home tour tab now, you'll see two headers to choose from. The River House is of course the one we've just moved out of, at Freshwater Pier. The Bush House gets its name from backing onto mountain bushland. Both beautiful locations. I'll update this page with most recent tours at the top. (A sneak peek of the third tour will be up next week!)

Hopefully there won't be too many more. Three moves in three years with three kids?.... it's been an adventure, but I must say: I'm over adventures of the moving-house variety. We've actually moved eight times in total in our fourteen years of marriage. This girl is ready to settle down. 

{Click on the image to take the tour}








First, the River House. I'm so excited to be able to share this tour. It's actually the first complete tour of this house ever to go up on my blog. These new photos were largely taken by Living Lens, but I wish I could say I took them. They're just so stunning. Make sure you stop past and check them out!

I'd so appreciate you leaving a comment on the River House Tour page to let me know what you think of all our hard work, and of course, if you like what we've done in such a short space of time, please share - it's always so appreciated! 


And if you're new around here or just feeling nostalgic, you can also click the image above to take the Bush house tour. This is where my blogging adventure all began.


Coming up next: it's almost my ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY!! Woo hoo! I have something special planned for you to celebrate, including an awesome giveaway, so make sure you tune in this Thursday!

I'll also be spilling the beans on our new house next week - it's already looking amazing, and completely different from the other two houses, for reasons I'll explain shortly. You don't want to miss this!

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