LIKE any good girlfriend, I made sure Brendan had something to come home to on his birthday. Something half decent, at least. It didn’t help that I was sick as a dog AND had to look after the new puppy we just picked up, but I think I pulled it off!

And yes, you heard right. We have ANOTHER family member. Meet Shadow:

A few tacked-on “Happy Birthday” buntings and banners, a surprisingly yummy apple strudel cake with sparklers, the aromas of dinner on the go, and Brendan is all-smiles:

I know he’s going to kill me for putting this photo up, because he looks “a state,” as he puts it. But I think he’ll soon forget when I remind him of the fat man’s nasi campur I cooked for him that night:

Anyway, back to the house! The best part of this week has to be finding the sofa we’ve been begging for the past month. Although our little $90 find was a lifesaver, trying to relax when we both came home from work was next to impossible. Feet were in faces, knees were in ribs and it was just a tangle of problems on most nights. Suffice to say, as soon as our credit cards began to show signs of life again, IKEA was our first stop.

We’re not normally fans of IKEA for furniture, knowing the low quality and all. But with budget constraints and limited options elsewhere, we went for something bloody decent for what we could afford. Et voilà!

We love that monster! If you’re thinking a three-seater sofa plus a chaise would overwhelm our house, think again. Look at how pathetic our old six seater dining set looks now in the house — we still can’t believe this used to swallow our old rentals in Queens Park and Westminster!

Makes us laugh now but looks like a hunt for a new dining set is definitely in order, but that’s not a priority at the moment. Since the arrival of the new pup, paving the area outside the laundry door has taken precedence and I’m more than proud to say that Brendan’s been hard at work making the most of his screeding skills. We had to spend a little extra dosh getting more block pavers but just look at the result:

He’s meticulous and it shows:

Brendan had to wait for a fairly dry days to do the paving, although he sat through moderate drizzle to finish this off. Seeing as it’s winter over here, we decided to get some cheap $50 rainwater tanks to capture a little water — 200 litres to be exact. My plants are happier with the cleaner water and if the season keeps up the way it is, it should remain full until the start of spring.