Oh How Pinteresting!

In association with The Vintage Apple …

No… not really… but it’s a cool blog!

I give you…

I think I’ll do themes for these and seeing as it’s my first… I’m pinning some great Steampunk stuff!

I don’t have an iPhone or any smart phone for that matter – STOP LAUGHING – but if I did, I’d want one of these:

Source: etsy.com via Erin on Pinterest


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Ren Zen

I have a new word for “doodle”.

Oi!  Quit the snickering!  It’s not the naughty doodle I’m talking about.

One of those scribbly doodles that you do when you’re procrastinating.

I does them. All the freakin’ time!  I am a notorious doodler during meetings (when I am not taking minutes) or during any long group discussion I’ve been required to attend but don’t actually take part in.  I generally arm myself with a notepad and a pen, you know, just in case something important happens – like a bloody fight to the death over the last homemade cupcake the boss brought in – but I usually just end up scribbling.

Until recently there’s been no sense to my scribbles but, completely by accident, I stumbled across something that one of my friends had pinned on Pinterest which caught my eye.  Something called a Zendoodle.  Intrigued, I followed the link to have a look and watched a Youtube video. Soon enough I was mesmerised by the way the pen floated across the paper in a series of organised strokes.  I was enraptured as a pattern emerged and then another pattern and another, until the whole page was filled with this nonsensical yet gorgeous piece of art.

I popped on over to Zentangle.com and discovered this phenomenon was a whole artform that was actually quite popular.

I had to stop looking at the website then as I had a meeting to attend… but then I took my pen and notepad with me, didn’t I?

While I was supposed to be taking minutes, I did this…


‘Scuse the fuzziness, I took this with my phone.  You could call this my first (un)official Zentangle!

Of course, totally inspired, I went and bought the kit that they have available on the website.  Can’t wait for that to come so I can start practicing the patterns.  It will give my mind something to focus on in the days leading up to the end of work.

Redundancy happens on the 6th of July.


I am looking forward to it but at the same time I really don’t want to have to get a new job.  Got no choice though. Kitties and puppies and menbeasts to feed.

Speaking of work, I shot this quickie of my desk – or at least the interesting part thereof.

Stuff On My Desk

That’s my PC, standing up on it’s side. I put it that way as it saves space on the desk.

The flower picture is from a bunch of flowers I got from a friend. Fell in love with the card and the bright colours. In an office where GREY is the colour of the hour, it’s a nice flash of something different.

The wee cutie and slightly bigger cutie are actually one and the same child. That’s my nephew.  The small picture is one that the sister had done at one of those mall places when he was about 18 months old.  The bigger picture was from his first year (last year) of primary school. The little peanut is growing up too quick!

Further up we have a cute little Sri Lankan elephant given to me by a retired colleague.  It’s supposed to bring good luck.  Whether or not that is the case is yet to be seen. It’s been sitting there for a few years now.

Then we have Wolverine.  Yes, I am slightly obsessed with the X-Men, and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is my favourite, with the comic version of Rogue coming in a close second.  I don’t have a doll of her that isn’t like the movie though. Need to find one.  I’m a Rovy (Rogue/Wolvy ‘shipper but with the adult versions of both characters).

And then we have the Beast of Cair Banog!  The white rabbit with big, sharp… POINTY… TEETH!

(If you squeeze it’s arse, the mouth opens up ridiculously wide revealing said teeth.)

Yes, I am also a Monty Python fan.

I saw Spamalot.  Twice.


Looking Good Naked

I posted this entry on my WW blog back on May 16th.  I was having a down day. I will be putting a few of these up since I don’t generally share my WW blog with the outside world.  For the past 18 months, Weight Watchers has been a big part of my life.  Actually, it’s been the main focus of my life as I’ve thrown everything into losing weight and getting healthy.

Having said that, it’s not without its downs as well as its ups…

I have a little problem.

I’m having some body issues.

Aren’t we all? I hear you say. It’s pretty much why we’re all here. Body issues.

Obviously one does not get to 152kg without there being some collateral damage along the way. In particular, my skin. For those who started this journey off particularly large, I doubt it’s something that’s thought of much and to be honest, there’s a bigger (no pun intended) issue at hand when we start and that’s losing weight. Everything else is secondary. I haven’t really thought of it much myself.

In my enthusiasm for this journey, I conveniently forgot all about this issue. We’ve all been told that the slower you lose the weight the better as not only is it healthier (obviously) but skin has time to slowly bounce back.

In theory.

Unfortunately I believe there is a caveat to this. Even the toughest elastic doesn’t bounce back after years of being stretched taut over a frame that was just too large. I have many pairs of bathers and old granny undies that prove this.

I caught myself in the mirror last night while getting changed. It made me pause… then it made me cry a bit. I could deal with losing the girls – hell, I’ve already shrunk from an overflowing D to a smallish-completely-in-denial C. I could deal with forever having thick legs – had those even when I was thin.

I can’t deal with this.

I’ve lost enough weight now that I don’t even need to suck in my gut to see the way the skin over my ribs puckers and wrinkles or how my slowly shrinking belly apron is loose and sagged out. I find it difficult to look at the skin beneath the girls and see it there, a crinkled, scarred (operation in 2009 where the surgeon was effective but sloppy in stitching me up again) and crepe-papery-textured mess. No amount of shay butter or Moroccan oil is going to plump that shit up again.

I’ve always laughed and said that I would get a boob job when I got to goal as I like luscious boobies, though it would be more of a lift than an implant dealio. But I can’t exactly get a skin job, can I? A tummy tuck, when all is said and done, won’t help the condition of my skin. I’ve never once deluded myself into thinking that I will be the trim and tight-bodied Amazonian warrior that my personal trainer/ex-WW leader is now. Trim, yes. Tight-bodied? Not on your nelly. I just wanted to be healthy and I will still be healthy, I know this.

But… I also want to look good naked.


Me as at November 2011, having lost 29.8kg at that stage, holding a pair of size 28 pants that were too small for me the preceding January.

High Five for Friday

Favourite things in the past five days…

1. Weighing in on Thursday night at WW and finding out I was 1.7kg less.  That brings my total loss back to 43.5kg – for you folk still stuck playing with imperial, 95lb and 14.41 oz. That’s since January 1, 2011.

2. My craft room.  Seriously, everyone needs a creative space. I am going to be utilising my new one this weekend.

3. My dinner this evening (being Friday night)… Savoury French Toast with Fried Mushroom & Tomato


3 x smallish eggs
1/4 cup of milk, skim or reduced fat
25g grated Bega Lowfat Cheese
2 slices multigrain bread, I used Abbotts Country Grains (works with white, obviously, but I rarely touch the stuff these days)
halved cherry tomatoes or roughly chopped regular ones
1/4 tsp of crushed garlic (or you can chop a bit of the fresh stuff up)
2 tsp oil

Preparation and Cooking:

Throw eggs, salt and milk into a bowl, beat into submission until well combined and then transfer to a shallower bowl that’s wide enough to lay your bread in.

Soak your bread in the milky egg mix until well sodden – takes a few seconds on each side. Transfer very soggy bread to another plate to sit and ponder the mysteries of the universe.

Grate your cheese NOW.  Right now! DO IT! Or if it’s pregrated… measure out 25g. BUT BE QUICK ABOUT IT!

While the bread is being all contemplative, chop up your tomatoes and mushrooms and throw into a hot pan with a tsp of oil and the garlic.  Cook until … well, until it’s cooked enough for you. I like things well stewed, you might like yours just heated through. You’re the boss of your tomatoes and mushrooms!

Once cooked to your liking, transfer to a plate and put somewhere warm while you clean your pan to cook your toast.

Is it clean? Put back on the heat and make it sizzling.

Once the pan is at adequate sizzling level, throw in the rest of your oil and spread it around the pan (easiest with a pastry brush or bit of folded kitchen towel) and then with clean hands, gently lift your contemplative-but-raw-and-soggy bread from the plate and onto the pan.

Make sure you aren’t a doofus like me and ensure your pan’s big enough to hold both slices side by side, it’s easier. Mine wasn’t.

Put your heat down to a med-high flame and whilst the first side is cooking, sprinkle the raw side with the cheese.

Once the underside is nicely brown, give your cheesey not-quite-cooked French Toast a bit of a gentle press with a flipper thingy if the cheese hasn’t begun to melt – it’ll press it more firmly into the bread and will make less mess when you turn it over.

Guess what?  Turn those suckers over.  Gently. You don’t want hot cheese everywhere.

Cook until the cheese is nicely browned a delicious-looking gold and your toast is a little firmer than it was when it was being all contemplative.

Chuck all that onto the plate with the tomatoes and mushrooms and eat!

For the Weight Watchers amongst us, this works out to be 6 ProPoints a serve…. TECHNICALLY it’s supposed to serve two people… but I was a glutton so I had all of it, so 13ProPoints for moi.

Totally worth it.

4. NAIL POLISH!  Oy! I bought so much of that today, can’t wait to show it off.

5. My husband, the manbeast, who made me giggle today.


Makeup Envy

I’ve never been a girly-girl.  Really, I haven’t.  Cosmetics used to be something those other girls used.

I’d look at blusher then look at my already rosy cheeks and say “Shyeah… right“.

Eyeshadow was a frightening thought.

Mascara was a monster I had no control over.

Eyeliner?  Fuggeddaboudit!

Until last year, the best I could manage was a sweep of brown shadow, a lumpy bit of mascara and a smudge of lipstick that really didn’t suit my complexion at all.

However, with my weightloss, and the desire to grow up and be a lady (at least occasionally), I decided to delve further into the things of face-prettiness.

I will save the details of my current (and currently growing) collection of makeup for another time.  For now, I want to introduce you to the gorgeous folk who piqued my interest – and are responsible for the manbeast’s regular cry of “NOT MORE MAKEUP?!” whenever I get a parcel delivered.


Marlena of Makeup Geek.
(Makeup Geek on Youtube)

Like all of my makeup gurus, I found Marlena on Youtube and I was instantly hooked by her personable style.  I loved the looks she posted up. All the tutorials are easy to follow and what’s more, I could make them work for my eyes!  Having hooded eyes – one slightly more hooded than the other – makes doing any sort of complex eyeshadow tricksome.  Not only does she do wicked tutorials but she’s got her own store and own line of makeup…

Yes, of course I bought some.  What do you take me for?


(Pixiwoo on Youtube)

Pixiwoo are actually two people, Nicole and Samantha, sisters from the UK who are hugely popular ladies. I discovered their funky tutorials on Youtube a little while back. They maintain an extensive blog of reviews and swatches and more which I love pouring through, even though I have no hope of affording many of the products that they use. Though it’s because of them that I’d heard of brands like Bourjois – which has several different lines of AWESOME foundation and concealer products.


Lisa Eldridge
(Lisa on Youtube)

Those of you who are into the whole makeup scene might very well be familiar with Lisa Eldridge. She also features in the UK version of that “how to look 10 years younger” show… She’s as much as celebrity as the people she makes over. Her tutorials are fantastic with a range of looks from bright to demure . Love, love, love. She’s where my obsession with gold smoky eyes came from.  Plus she’s got a voice I could listen to for hours. I think she’d make the Yellow Pages seem like a Jane Austen novel.


Wayne Goss
(Wayne on Youtube)

Yep, a bloke made it onto my list. There are loads of male makeup artists on Youtube, however Wayne is my favourite. He’s not nearly as…err… um…. flamboyantly fabulous… as the rest. His no-nonsense, straight-talking approach is awesome. He’s so passionate about makeup! His advice on contouring is second to none.

And he does this cute little winky thing that… ARGH… *heartflutter*


(Nikkie on Youtube)

Nikkie is a delightful bundle of energy and joy from the Netherlands. She’s only 18 years old but she’s an extremely talented glamazon who is one of the most popular makeup gurus from that region of the world. She is addictive to watch and her tutorials are a real mix of trendy freshness to traditional elegance. Love. Love. LOVE!


(Angie on Youtube)

Angie is so inspirational it’s not funny. Her dramatic and creative makeups are just out of this world. She’s my go-to for costume make-up ideas as well as regular makeup.  She’s a makeup artist and cake decorator extraordinaire!


Vintage Or Tacky
(Cora on Youtube)

I’m not a fan of her tagline (my inner marketing person can’t make sense of it) but I love Cora – LOVE her. She’s cute as a button. She does some fairly out-there makeup looks as well as very wearable every-day stuff. She also does wardrobe reviews in partnership with Torrid (a plus-size American brand) – she’s the awesomesauce all over. I think it was her review on China Glaze nail polish that got me buying my first few bottles…


The Craft Room… or Studio… depending on who’s asking.

When we moved into this house, we wanted a spare room for guests and a room which we could use as a studio. The manbeast paints. I make jewellery. Obviously there is a need for some creative space where we can set up comfortably and not have our stuff taking over other areas of the house… like the dining table… The dining table which we have been able to eat at maybe a handful of times since we bought it because said painting and jewellery-making took over the only bit of workable space we had but that’s a whole other story.

The room we chose remained devoid of any practical use from the time that we moved in, however nature hates a vacuum – as with all “spare rooms”, it turned into a storage area. Slowly piles of junk and debris grew. Dust bunnies ran amok and we ended up with, well, this…

And thus begins the transformation of Casa del Ren – also known affectionately as Castle Voyager when the manbeast is involved.

I got tired of the mess and the fact that our very expensive dining table was taken up all the time with either painting or beading stuff (or both when it was really chaotic) and declared that it was time to clean out the back room.

The manbeast agreed.

And nothing got done for a few more months.

But we did eventually decide that a couple of weekends ago was the time to get a start, so we spent a couple of hours passing boxes out of the room and we ended up with a beautiful (mostly) empty shell:

Looks lovely, eh? Too bad we have to fill it up with stuff again.

Remember – nature hates a vacuum.

Finally, after much debate about what we would be doing with room and how it was going to be set up, I was surfing that new fabulous time-waster, Pinterest, came across this picture and thought we could definitely do something like it, only sans creepy at-home-schooliness:


From this perspective, the room’s layout looked pretty close to ours and I really liked the idea of a table in the centre of the room with shelves lining the walls. Considering our room had a full-length inbuilt wardrobe taking up one wall, putting a desk against one of the other walls would have severely limited the space we had. It just made sense to make use of the floorspace.

So in the end we decided on some white “Max” shelves from Fantastic Furniture. We got both the tall variety as well as a few of the short, stumpy ones to fit under the window – and managed to buy out the local store of their entire supply while we were at it. So we had to go to the Geelong store to get the last of the short ones (there were two intended for under the window, not just one.)

After a few hours of hammering, arguing, and general putting-things-together-ness, we had shelves! And we’d unboxed the Very Expensive Display Cabinet from Hardly Normal (you can figure out where it actually came from) that we’d bought for showing off our various wares.  (That was what was in the big box in the other photos.)


It was pretty much left at that for the weekend – we were buggered! We’d thrown some stuff on the shelves and a handful of important stuff into the cabinet, but that was it. However this weekend we popped down to what’s swifty becoming our favourite shop to buy a table  and some chairs.   We carried on with the white theme.  I know I’ve been ranting about how I am over the whiteness of the house but I figured white was as good as any colour. It’s bright, it’s a clean slate. It’s like looking at a fresh notebook before you start scribbling. I kind of like it for a craft room.

Anyway, this is the finished product…


As you can see, there’s now two shelves under the window. That’s my spot for my beady stuff.  I bought a few boxes, though I do need to go and get some more, I think.  The dark purple adds a bit of colour and order to the mayhem that is sure to become my shelves.  The manbeasts shelves are, of course, the big ones on the other wall. The still-empty set of shelves is up for grabs. Whoever gets there first, wins.  Above that will be an awesome picture by Larry Elmore (one of a bunch I bought for the manbeast as a housewarming-and-thankyou-for-moving-house-without-my-help-because-I-was-at-a-hens-party present when we moved in) that I’ve fallen in love with – we just need to put that up. Need a stud-finding gadget that works, first. The picture is big.

The other picture that’s already up is a blue moody piece by a use-to-be-friend who gifted it to me.  Still love her work. Sad we’re no longer mates. It still gets pride of place with my stuff though.

Oh yeah, the rooster on the shelf?  That’s Frederick von Chickenburger, the room mascot.


I’m Tumblred.

For those of you still reading… you might be interested to know that I have created a new tumblr blog.

Tumblr is a slightly-bigger-than-micro-blogging website, not unlike Twitter but with the ability to post text, video, photos, quotes, dialogue and more.

Click here for Renlish Tumblred.

I still haven’t decided precisely what I am going to do with it as yet.  At the moment it’s just a photo and a link to a favourite poem.

Major Pre-Christmas Ketchup 2011

So it’s been since the beginning of September that I’ve actually graced my blog with a post.


Not intended, I assure you (for any of “you” who still happen to read)…  I had lofty dreams and goals for this blog but my recent and many-months-long bout of apathy and fatigue has seen me quite over everything, including everything from my boudoir photography endeavours (remember them?) to my silly fanfic writing games.

So what’s news in Renland?  I hate to say it but… pretty much nothing.  Nothing of huge significance, anyway.

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Thought it was about time for a Bronagh update.

She’s grown from a tiny 2kg puppy to 10 times that size at a whapping 20kg.  She’s a small dog, but a solid one.

She’s also part beaver.  We bought her a kennel which is slowly being chewed apart, piece by piece. A had a friend bring back some logs from her farm and, oh my god, all that puppy’s Christmases had come at once.  It was so cute. She gnaws until her mouth is red raw.

She’s a real cuddle pup, though. In the between moments when she’s not trying to jump onto my face I can sit down and she will stretch out on my lap, her head on my chest and sit with me. Or she’ll sit on my lap and put her chin to mine.  The cuteness melts me and almost makes up for the fact that she’s ripped up the irrigation hoses, ripped apart every padded mat we’ve bought (for HER comfort I might add) and completely destroyed several expensive and  “indestructible” dog toys.

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