jenn jay tales

Jennifer Johnston shares her travel tales; life adventures; observations, photos and random thoughts


Mosquitoes and soft tofu – another side to Vietnam

Vietnam so many highlights – what about the lowlights?  Here’s my travel story  with a few of both Mosquitoes and soft tofu – another side to Vietnam

mekong river dwellers 2

Transport styles

Transport styles


Crazy Times Ahead ……..

Crazy times ahead 

Most of us lead very busy lives. Just when you think your life could not be any busier, people like me decide to seek new challenges to prove life is not NOT busy enough!

Not sure what has possessed me other than the notion I am always up for a challenge – but I’m (close to) entering the home renovation/demolition “arena.” Without any prior knowledge or serious experience in any of these areas – other than a small renovation projects on the house that (could be) about to become my BIG project and an investment property renovation/modernisation project for six months – I’m not sure why I’m considering undertaking such a project.

Neither of those previous projects involved an architect – this one does. Throw in a Town Planner and you get the picture – I’m on a steep learning curve!

It also explains why I have not been blogging as regularly as I should!  This whole approval process has consumed six months of my life. But I rarely follow a sensible / conventional path!

This is as a result of my desire to down-size my home – an outcome from my personal-life circumstances. I began looking in the real estate market to determine what I could buy to suit myself and my three kids who are getting older and therefore have different space needs in the house. The Brisbane market seems to have moved to a seller’s market. I was viewing newly renovated houses that were on the market for only a matter of weeks (in many instances) and were selling for prices I thought were a tad on the high (er) side.  So my active little brain started thinking. If these property developers are buying large blocks and splitting them into two, building a new house on half the block and renovating the original house – selling both – for a reasonable profit – could I do the same?

My house is reasonably large (for a single mum and her three kids) and the block of land it sits on is sizeable too so the questions began: what zoning is my house? Can I split the block by partially demolishing some of the house, raise it, slide it over and create a second lot to be sold at a later stage?  These crazy notions started around July 2014.

Its now May 2015 and my zany project has introduced me to foreign world.  But it has been an interesting ride. Why?

  • I am the “boss” of this project (as in the chief decision maker)
  • I am female and
  • I am about to enter into a male dominated industry of which I know very little about!

The conversations I’ve had with my lovely architect, town planner, various builders, demolition guys and house raisers have been enlightening (to say the least!)  The writer in me knows there is a story to track on my blog.

Although I have not signed the dotted line to progress to the “yes it is definitely happening stage” I am moving closer.

So renovation junkies out there – watch this space ………….

This is the house in its original state - circa 1928.

This is the house in its original state – circa 1928.




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Maui we’ll be back

Please find the link to my story about our stay on the Hawaiian island of Maui – published on my Travel Blog Maui we’ll be back

The hotel - Aston Ka'anapali Shores where we comfortably stayed for 5 nights

The hotel – Aston Ka’anapali Shores where we comfortably stayed for 5 nights

A little internal smirk – its only been 11 months since our visit – been a little pre-occupied with another project – watch this space ……

Love a Maui sunset - over Ka'anapali Beach

Love a Maui sunset – over Ka’anapali Beach

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My Top 5 Experiences in Byron Bay

I have been a little slow in posting in 2015 – but here is my latest post found on my travel blog – a place I love to visit!

My top 5 Experiences in Byron Bay

The Getaway Girls on Clarkes Beach

The Getaway Girls on Clarkes Beach

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A perfect family getaway with a musical twist

Shelly Beach, Caloundra

Shelly Beach, Caloundra


Hi Jenn Jay Tales readers,

Although it may feel as though I have been asleep on this blog – I can assure you I haven’t been.  I’ve been trying to tackle my travel blog and get that up and running – which I am pleased to say it FINALLY is!

Now to posting some stories – this is the link to my latest blog post on the travel blog – random thoughts and what I got up to over the school holidays.  Please pop over to my other blog for a read: A perfect family getaway with a musical twist

Ferris Wheel at Kings Beach

Ferris Wheel at Kings Beach


Hayden HackThanks and will try and get back into more regular blog posting – but with Christmas less than 10 weeks away – who knows!

Happy travels,