Favourite Finds Second Quarter 2019

Cant believe half a year is over already, the only things that makes it feel so real is that its winter and I really don’t like cold weather, at all! Hot chocolate with marshmallows is my one saving graces and sipping on one of those and curling up with a good book is rather nice.


I have had a very slack start to 2019 in the book reading department, I have only read one and that was over the last week.

This book is not a pleasant read, but it is eye opening and sure made me feel grateful to live in a country like Australia where treatment of women in such a derogatory way is now acceptable practice. Even being Saudi royalty does not allow you any more freedom of choice that a street peasant. Whilst things are very slowly improving, I doubt they will ever have true freedom.

It is quite ironic that whilst I was reading this book, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, the wife of Dubai’s ruler had applied for asylum in Europe as she fears for her safety. Life in the middle east if you are female is nothing short of horrible and this book that is not fictional really sends the message home.


I have battled with oily skin all my life, and I like to use a gel style cleanser in the shower. My favourite has been discontinued, so after whinging to a co-worker about the deletion of said cleanser she recommended I try the $4 bargain from Woolworths. At least if I don’t like it, I can toss it in the bin and I have not shelled out a fortune for it.

Much to my surprise, this clear, lightly scented gel does a great job cleaning my skin, but does not leave it feeling tight and dehydrated once it is dry. That is why I don’t choose cleansers for oily skin as I find them too harsh and oil production goes into overdrive to compensate.


My alarm goes off at 4am and I start work at 5! I cannot eat breakfast at this horrible hour of the day. I have tried and honestly I might as well chew on concrete as that is what food feels like if I try and force it down.

Thankfully drinking breakfast does work for me, and even through coffee still comes first. I have tried many meal replacement drinks and I don’t like the taste of many of them and some are so loaded in sugar I might as well just have a chocolate bar (which I probably could get down, cause it’s chocolate).

F4U (formulated for you) reached out to me and asked if I would like to sample their meal replacement drinks. When I discovered they were low in sugar, I said yes.

They work just like any other shake as you blend them with water or milk and come in Vanilla Malt and Choc Cacao. I did use my mini blender to add some strawberries to one and it was divine. With 25 key vitamins and minerals and over 30gm of protein these are a really good alternative whether you are trying to lose weight or simply love the convenience of drinking breakfast as you can sip on this on your commute and have a few minutes extra in bed each day.

You can order yours here and this gluten free goodness will be on your doorstep quickly from the Gold Coast.


What started as a fashion fad a few years ago has definitely blown into a full on obsession for me and that would be rose gold.

If anything comes in a rose gold option I am in! Needless to say when I realised it was time for a new black handbag for the winter months, my girls knew what would tickle my fancy.

All the rose gold hardware on this Collette bag just makes my heart sing and it also fits in everything I need on a daily basis and fills my other handbag criteria of holding its shape when you put it down. Floppy bags and I are not friends.


In my perfect world chocolate would be calorie free and ridiculously good for you, but unfortunately that is not the current state of affairs.

BUT I did discover this awesome new snack that is right up there in the not too bad for you range.

Almonds dipped in a super thin coating of dark chocolate and finished with an espresso coating, yes you read right, coffee and chocolate together. These little morsels are so good and are waiting for you in the health food section at Woolies….not sure if Coles stock them, but they should!


If you asked a Brisbanite where you should go for a nice lunch with a water view, they will most likely suggest some on the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast as that is the obvious choice.

Or in 30 minutes north of Brisbane you could already be sitting down with a nice cold drink in your hand, perusing the extensive menu and watching the sun dance on the water.

The Belvedere Hotel at Woody Point is a fabulous spot for a lazy Sunday lunch with all the trimmings but no nasty homeward bound traffic to deal with.

Just make sure you order a nice sunny day to go with your meal because that is when Bramble bay truly shines and then after you have filled up on good food you can take a stroll down the pier and see how man fish people have not caught. I bet the local fish and chip shop does a roaring trade late on a Sunday afternoon.

What was your favourite discovery over the last 3 months?

A medical date with Dr Teo

There would not be many Australians that have not heard of Dr Teo, and just in case you have not, he is the most innovative neurological surgeon we have in this country. The only surgeon who is prepared to perform operations on the brain that are both incredibly risky and life changing when successful.

Just recently he was once again on TV being grilled about the fees he charges to perform these surgeries. For the everyday family finding on average $150k is no easy task, but if a life depended on it, you will do all you can. Considering he only pockets around $10k due to the incredibly high costs associated with these operations, trying to use bullying tactics to keep him from performing his magic is a low swipe.

Many old school neuro surgeons are not prepared to take the risks Dr Teo does and are going out of their way to keep him blocked from access to public hospitals and some would love to see him never operate again. Unfortunately this attitude is costing lives!

Its only when you actually know someone that needs his help, you fully appreciate his value and skill.

When a 10 year old girls goes from being normal and healthy,but within a couple of months is suffering from migraines, uncontrollable vomiting, blurred vision and absolute exhaustion it takes a mothers instinct to realise that something is very wrong with your child that you continually present to the emergency department and push for them to expand their testing until the true cause is revealed.

It took that long for the decision to be made to send her for CT scan and then an MRI and bam…..they discover a 2cm symptomatic benign cystic tumor is living right in the middle of her brain that was restricting cerebral fluid flow and causing major effects on important bodily functions.

After a two week wait for an appointment with the head of Neurosurgery in Brisbane resulted in a very disappointing diagnosis of ‘we will not be performing surgery and we will just wait and see if it is growing’ attitude….in other words ‘I am not able to perform this surgery, but my ego is too big to admit that to you’ and treating this family with disdain, a call was made to Dr Teo and her file was sent to his office for appraisal.

In the midst of all this, Jorja experienced a black out, which should have been fatal, but thankfully it was not and Dr Teo explained that this surgery could not be delayed and a week after the family met him, surgery was scheduled.

Meeting the man can make all the difference!

This awesome young girl is a member of my daughters physie club and this letter was penned by Miss WW whilst the 4 hour procedure was being performed and published when she successfully came out the other side.

As many of you may have heard, there is a fairly common saying… “It isn’t Brain Surgery”. However, sometimes – and unfortunately in this case. It WAS brain surgery. Normal, healthy and fine one minute followed by a couple of weeks of very scary events led our Jorja to Dr Teo’s hands.

Don’t get me wrong, ANY surgeon is incredible and deserves the world BUT Teo is something else.

Most doctors told Jorj that her cyst was inoperable, many even got offended at the suggestion of the contrary. Initially, the thought was that she could live a relatively normal life under monitoring to ensure this cyst isn’t growing. Except, everything wasn’t “normal” – Physie was hard, she was sick often as a result. How is this a “normal” life? When the thing Jorj loves most is no longer simple?

After that, something worse happens and in a moment of blackout, she wakes up from something her body shouldn’t have survived in the first place.

So now, we KNOW she needs it operated on but here’s the catch. Teo is the only one in Australia that can perform the operation.

Then the reality hits, and Jorj finally meets Teo in person… to which he confirms that yes, he will and does need to operate.

Teo, on behalf of everyone at both Brisbane & Ipswich City Physie and personally on behalf of Myself and Kim – thank you.

We know that not everyone will be able to have this surgery, all because other heads of Neurosurgery will not invite Teo to operate in their public hospitals. So, for us this is not the end.

We will be embarking on a continual fundraising event for the Dr Charlie Teo foundation. Whether is be for awareness, for funding or simply support – we will be behind the foundation every step of the way. Because we quite literally owe him a life.

Moving forward, the Ipswich City Physie annual Scholarship Award will be renamed.

“The Teo-Smith Annual Scholarship Award

This is so we can provide a special student each year, with the opportunity to continue to do what they love – just like Teo has done for Jorja.

I have no way of knowing if Dr Teo will every read this, but if you do – thank you.”

Jorja will not be able to go to school for 12 months and has a ton of rehabilitation to go through, but 24 hours post op she was in the hospital hallway practicing her physie, one of her true passion at this stage in her life.

I truly hope you and your family never need the services of Dr Teo, but for those that do, we need to make every effort we can to make his services available to all that need them. A recent petition was opened with Change.org and received over 140,000 signatures has now closed and they are using those signatures to try and take action, but if you are able to support the Charlie Teo Foundation that is a small step you can take to help those in need.

In my eyes Dr Teo is both a magician and an amazing surgeon who deserves full support and not the shaming he so often receives from the majority of those in his speciality are quick to deliver as they focus on protecting their reputations. Every surgery has its risks, but if the only outcome you can look forward to is early death by not having it done, then that risk is sure as hell worth taking!

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Bean and Bacon Soup

Winter decided to start with a big bang in Brisbane! The temperature has plummeted to levels that I am not happy about in the slightest and to no surprise as we were whinging about how cold it was at work, the topic of soup popped up. One of my co-workers mentioned that she loves making an easy soup using McKenzie’s 12 blend soup mix and she loves it.

Needless to say I was heading home to make soup that night. I could not get a vegetable soup pack so I just grabbed a few things that normally go into soup and ended up with an easy and super yummy soup that is perfect to warm you up on a chilly day.


  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 swede, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 bacon bones
  • 1 2lt carton of vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of 12 blend soup mix (soaked overnight as per instructions on the pack) and then rinsed with fresh water.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

These ingredients made 4 generous serves, and only used part of the 12 blend soup mix, to make a larger batch just increase the quantities.


Place the diced onion in a large saucepan with the olive oil and over medium heat fry until golden.

Add all the other ingredients and gently boil for approximately 30 minutes.

Normally I would have added salt and pepper, but I forgot and I am glad I did, as between the stock and the bacon bones the soup was salty enough for my taste, but you can always add seasoning if you like once it is cooked.

The soup is now ready to eat if you like yours chunky, but I prefer to attack mine with a stab blender after removing the bacon bones and making it all nice and smooth.

Its not the prettiest soup I have ever seen, but the flavour is awesome and it turned out nice and thick. You could always add a little water to make it go further if you don’t like yours like that.

If we have to endure winter, we might as well make sure it tastes good!


Do you turn to soup during the colder months?

Collecting Free Cash For Christmas

Christmas costs money, lots of money, so finding easy ways to have more set aside in December will make bring joy to festive season a little easier. If the cash happens to be free well that is even better!

I have had a Woolworths Every Day reward card for years, but I had never bothered registering it. Every now and then as the points grew to 2000 I would receive a $10 discount at the register. Nice bonus, but it was only a few months ago that I found out that you could elect to hold those bonuses and let them collect to use for Christmas.

Now I do appreciate you have to spend plenty of dollars to receive those $10 bonus discounts, but we need to eat, clean and wash so I have to spend money at a supermarket to do those things. In the past I have used Coles Fly Buy points to be credited to my card during the festive season, and now I do the same with my Woolworths one too.

I currently have $40 sitting in my account and on 01 December they total will be released for me to use for Christmas. Now that amount is not going to buy to many bottles of bubbles….but it is only May so there is a few months to go!

If you want to collect your dollars, you will need to register your card. Once that is complete, you go to the control panel and you can change your settings from the default one of giving you a $10 discount at the time of purchase at any time during the year once you have 2000 points banked up.

The other thing that happened when I registered my card and provided my email address, I started received special bonus points offers and the chance to get free products. Unless I normally use the product on offer, I don’t take them up on it, as I refuse to waste money on products that I have no interest in just to earn bonus points. I did discover a great new curry paste that I was able to get for free, so I call that winning.

Every little bit helps, and all those dollars I have spent at Woolworths would have been spent there regardless, so I see it as free money and I am happy with that.

Do you collect rewards dollars to use at Christmas time?

Favourite Finds Summer 2019

Farewell summer, you will be missed and with the exception of some extremely high humidity situations that can be a bit annoying, the thought of having to start layering clothes again does not excite me one little bit.

I do love flipping though my phone at the end of each season and remembering some of the great things I found as I like taking snaps of all the things even though half the time I forget to share them on social media.

After all the Christmas festivities we launch straight into the month of birthdays. A group of girlfriends of mine have a combined birthday party as three of us share birthdays within a week of each other. This years fun was a little bit special as we got to celebrate a 60th. I met Helen when I was 21 and she was my next door neighbour. The amazing cake was made by a friend of Helen’s and was just one of the highlights of an awesome day.

Miss WW received a huge discount voucher for Hello Fresh, so we decided to try it out with a 5 night pack. Everything needed for 5 dinners was delivered to the front door and the biggest decision we had to make was which bag were we going to try.

Almost everything you need to create your dinner was included with the exception of a few pantry staples like eggs, olive oil and soy sauce….which I quickly discovered was not anywhere to be found in my pantry. Thankfully I had a bottle of sweet soy which stepped up and saved the day.

I was impressed with the quality of ingredients provided and they are easy to make just a little fiddly sometimes. I really don’t want to have to peel and chop garlic almost everyday. Each meal tasted fabulous though and is on the table in about 30 minutes. I could not use this service every week as I don’t want to eat carbs every night and some nights I need meals that are even quicker to prepare as I come home exhausted from work and have zero desire to chop and prep a 3 part dinner.

Whilst we are chatting about all things food, you need to know about this superior snack surprise I discovered. I had to help a customer find this item in the store the other day as they were on special and she wanted to stock up as apparently they taste amazing.

I do love the tingle of tasty Thai curry and Penang has always been a fav of mine, but packaged ‘meals’ are not, but she did such a good job telling me all about this item I just had to buy one to try.

She was NOT lying, this nifty little pack contains the grain blend and the sauce in separate sachets which you simply open and pour into the container, place the lid on and give it a quick zap in the microwave. It is a perfect size for lunch or light meal and the flavour was amazing. Add this to your shopping list and you wont regret it.

Surviving summer successfully in Brisbane does require light dressing and 100% cotton is a must. These great pieces were gifted to me from Vivid International and have been on high rotation this season. They come rolled up, you wear them, you wash them, you roll them up and tell your iron that its service is not required.

These long tops and dresses are also great for a getaway as you pack them rolled and they take up no space at all and are ready to wear when you arrive at your destination.

When it comes to handbags and wallets, I do love some nice leather. Scored this red and black, Italian leather beauty that even has inbuilt card security sewn in for only $60.00 at the Eumundi markets.

Its big and fits ALL the things and smells divine, so happy with my purchase.

When you discover all your watches need new batteries and there is not a jeweller or Mr Minit close by, but Kmart comes to the rescue with a whole lot of sparkle for $9.00, and a few weeks later it is still working, winning!

Well Autumn, what fun and surprises do you have instore, suppose we will just have to wait and see what the camera roll reveals in 3 months time.

What great discoveries did you make this summer?

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Friends For Life

Forty years ago in a small country school in Yankalilla sat 5 friends on ‘their’ steps. Wearing the obligatory duffle coats and desert boots we were cruising through year 10 and did everything together. When the year drew to a close, we were all separated.

As the schooling standard at many area schools was way below par, if you wanted to go to University you had no choice but to finish year 11 and 12 at city schools. With so many schools in Adelaide we all ended up going to different ones and for a short while we tried to keep in touch but it did not last.

I kept in touch with Kerrie and even went back to Adelaide for my 50th birthday so I could see the pandas. Kerrie kept in touch with Pam and last year we managed to organise a girls weekend with the three of us and we had a ball!

Whilst sipping Ink gin, we got our detective caps on and with the help of a little Facebook searching we managed to track down number 4. We had a Facetime chat and promised to organise a weekend get together. We were all to busy to schedule it in late last year but all agreed to make it happen on the Australia Day weekend.

On a very warm weekend, we made ourselves at home by the pool in Kerrie’s complex, which we had all to ourselves.

With the help of wine and plastic glasses (of course) we splashed around in the pool for 2 1/2 hours!

The next day we ventured to Eumundi markets and it took up almost 5 hours to walk it from top to bottom. The South Australian’s enjoyed buying lots of clothes that are different from the things you can buy in the usual chain stores.

We talked a lot, we ate a lot and we drank a lot. If any of us had concerns whether it might all be a little bit awkward after all these years, they were quickly laid to rest. It was so much fun to catch up on the last 4 decades of news and family happenings.

Unfortunately I had to head home on Sunday even though the others had another 3 days together, but some of us had to work on the public holiday and get paid ridiculously large amounts of money for doing so.

The only thing missing from this awesome girls weekend was our 5th partner in crime. We believe she moved to the UK and got married, but no amount of Facebook searching helped and as we don’t know her married name we just drew a blank.

Georgina Woods if you are out there and this post ever finds you, get in touch as no matter where you are in the world our next girls weekend can include you too thanks to modern technology.

Do you have life long friends?

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Good Mood Food

I don’t know about you, but after all the hype and fun of Christmas and then the glorious feeling of two weeks of annual leave, by the time mid January hits it feels like you ran into a brick wall and fell face down into the mundane business of normal life.

One of my many goals for 2019 is to reduce the amount sugar I am consuming, and so my usual good mood food of chocolate is no longer my go-to. That is a good thing as all the fun sugary stuff is great at increasing serotonin and dopamine levels, which provides a positive lift, but it only lasts for a very short time and the crash back down can usually leave you feeling worse.

Fortunately there are some great foods that can be included in your daily diet that will help to improve your mood and they are good for you at the same time.


Thankfully chocolate is not off the list forever. A small amount of good quality dark chocolate can not only ease stress but boost your mood at the same time. Chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa is high in antioxidants and is loaded with tryptophan that triggers the release of endorphins. I don’t like dark chocolate anywhere near as much as I like milk chocolate, but this handy as just a couple of squares lets me feel like I have had a treat, but the whole block won’t have magically disappeared by the next day.


I can’t stomach sardines or tuna, but I don’t need an excuse to eat smoked salmon or a flash fried salmon steak. If you have never tried Huon Salmon, do yourself the biggest favour and try some soon. It is totally delicious and so good for you as its full of omega-3 fatty acid that helps the cell membranes of the brain and in turn boosts its ability to correctly send the right electrical messages and produce more serotonin. Eggs, linseeds and walnuts can help in the same way if you don’t like salmon.


A bowl of oats will help keep your blood sugar levels steady and will reduce the emotional roller coaster ride we often find ourselves on. Thanks to their soluble fibre they help to keep you feeling full well into the day and their amino acids will help create dopamine, vital for felling good.

When making burgers or meatloaf, use oats instead of breadcrumbs to help them hold together. You won’t even notice the difference but it will make them that little bit healthier.


Natural yoghurt, especially of the Greek variety is full of probiotics which can improve your gut health. There has been a lot of research done on healthy guts and how they can have a very positive affect on your happiness.

Make sure choice of yoghurt is not laden with added sugar as this strips away all the benefits of probiotics. If you find the taste a little tarte add some berries or banana slices to make it a little more palatable.


Speaking of bananas, those sunny coloured fruits that look like a smile will help put one on your face. Bananas help to increase your serotonin levels and will also deliver a good dose of potassium which can reduce blood pressure and decrease fluid retention.

They are the perfect on-the-go snack as they come in their own protective wrap and are great blended in a smoothie to add a rich and creamy taste.


If you are craving a nice juicy steak…….then have one. You will add a big dose of B12 and folate to your body that are important part of serotonin production, but also very supportive to your nervous system.

Add a selection of steamed fresh greens and you have a low carb, high protein meal that will also provide an energy boost thanks to the iron content.

Feeling happy is an inside job and with these great food additions and less dependence on sugar is great way to help improve your long-term health.

What is your go to ‘happy’ food?

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One Little Word 2019

This is the seventh year that I have chosen a word to be my guiding force for the year ahead.

In all honesty I have not had an awful lot of success with my ‘One Little Word’, because in reality it takes a lot more than picking a word and magically having your circumstances and your life take a huge leap forward.

Since becoming a single mum almost 8 years ago, I feel as though my life has been in a holding pattern. Stuck in not such a nice place and even though I have had many goals and plans I have struggled to see them come to fruition in a major way.

I really don’t want 2019 to be a replay of the last 8, so I have had a good hard look at what patterns and habits have been my constant companion over these years and what needs to change so I can move forward in a super positive way.


 So my word for this year is RELEASE and my focus will be on letting go of some of my not so great habits, beliefs that don’t serve me, and finding better ways to do things to yield better results.

I have not made a huge list of resolutions that I won’t keep like the majority of people out there, but a list of things that I know are not good for me and to help me work my though these things I have created a #scraptherapy book to fill with ideas, inspiration, quotes and make it all look pretty as that is one thing that really does get me into my happy zone.

The first big thing I am tackling is my addiction to sugar. I am not going to go cold turkey as that is not a Nikki I would like to live with. My love for chocolate and sweet things has been my go to whether I am happy or sad and I know that sugar is one thing the body really does not like. As I am getting older inflammation is causing me discomfort and I damn well know that sugar is playing a big part in this.

So for now I am adding in more fresh food, fruit to give me that sweet treat, dinners that are high in protein but low in carbs and only having mini sized treats occasionally. Small steps are better than no steps!

I have a long list of other things I will tackle, but strengthening my discipline muscles a little at a time is already helping me to feel more positive and I know that I can do it.

Have you chosen ‘One Little Word’ for 2019?

Do you have an action plan to make it work for you?

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Taking Stock – 2018 Year In Review

Year In Review 2018


As another year is about to come to an end at a very rapid rate, and I am truly grateful its over.

This year has not been much fun, but seems to be a collection of many days of hard slog for little reward and very little spare time so my blog has been severely neglected.

So instead of a monthly ‘Taking Stock’, this post is an annual edition and it gave me the opportunity to reflect and remember what 2018 dished out, both good and bad.

Goodbye 2018, and I am looking forward to 2019 and doing things differently because as the saying goes ‘you can’t get different results, if you keep doing the same thing’!

MAKING – The most of being on holidays for two glorious weeks…..the first lot of annual leave I have had since last Christmas.

COOKING – Getting creative with festive food leftovers….last night was turkey breast slices, cranberry sauce, garlic aioli, onion slices, capsicum slices and grated cheese all rolled up in Lebanese bread and toasted in the flat toaster….yum!

DRINKING – Lots of coffee and my newest favourite thing, Mediterranean Fever Tree tonic water with gin, for the best G&T you can get.

LISTENING TO – Cultivate Your Life with Lara Casey podcast.

READING – Re-reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.

NEXT READ – ‘Attitude Goddess’ by Lea Gay……cause its time to give mine a big shake up.

WANTING – A month or ten in a high rise apartment overlooking Waikiki Beach! After all my years as a travel consultant I never got to go to Hawaii and its still on my wish list.

LOOKING – For a missing person, the fifth member of our old school group for a reunion in January. Its very hard when you don’t know their married name, you have all moved from the area that you used to live in and she seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

PLAYING – In my studio, surrounded by all my crafty goodies is the best method of stress relief I know.

DECIDING – If its time to get a new pet.

WISHING – For a gigantic lotto win….except I never remember to buy a ticket.

ENJOYING – An awesome reunion with two friends from way back, the next one is in January and a fourth friend has been found and coming along for the fun…..now if we could just find number five!


WAITING – To see how many days it will be before we have ANOTHER new Prime Minister, probs not too many!

LIKING – Those Twinings In’fuse cold water tea bags, they making water drinking so much more fun.

WONDERING – How many different types and colours of craft paint does one really need?

LOVING – Planner girls meet-ups and weekends away, we all get our addiction to pretty papery things.

PONDERING – When will I be able to move to the beach, its just a matter of time until my last birdie flies the coup and I can head to my happy place.

CONSIDERING – Going down the no sugar road…….but can I truly live without chocolate???????

BUYING – Thongs that have diamante’s embedded around the edge of the sole……because its bling and I can’t say no to sparkly things.

WATCHING – Took myself to the movies on my own for the very first time in 53 years to see Bohemian Rhapsody, and so glad I did it was amazing.

NEXT WATCH – Aquaman……for the eye candy.

HOPING – Another season of ‘Harlot’s is made. This is one of the best find of the year on SBS on demand, apart from a ‘Handmaids Tale’ of course.

MARVELLING – That after 22 years this little cross stitch deco I made when my first daughter was born still looks as good as they day it first hung on our tree.


CRINGING – Every time I remember how hard it was to move house earlier this year, with a crushed meniscus in my knee that had me barely able to walk let alone deal with the hell that is moving!

NEEDING – Some genius to invent a really amazing strapless bra that will keep the girls where they should be instead of having to be hauled up every time I move as I am really missing out on all the off the shoulder thing that is so in right now.

QUESTIONING – Why did our gorgeous cat Miss Tiger literally disappear one day and never came home, its been 6 months now.

SMELLING – The beautiful fragrance oil  ‘Noel’ by Crabtree and Evelyn, that has been discontinued and my bottle is almost empty, and I want to cry. It is truly the most beautiful Christmas scent I have ever had and its in my burner everyday during December.

WEARING – All the metals, as I just can’t pick a favourite, so why not wear them all together?

FOLLOWING – The horrible joke that is Donald Trump. Its such a mess that you can’t help but wait for the next instalment in the saga.

WORRYING – At all hours of the night, as that is when my body is so physically tired from work, but mind has all those glorious hours of darkness to play in.

NOTICING – How negative thoughts have dominated my thinking this year.

KNOWING – That summer is much more fun than winter and I truly hate the cold.

THINKING – Do way to much of that and will constantly grow my list of things to do to reign that in.

ADMIRING – How Miss WW has followed her passion and even though she works full time, she has managed to open not one but two physie clubs in two years and the culture she has created together with her bestie is like one huge happy family.

Ipswich City Physie


SORTING – Through my huge collection of craft supplies and selling some off or throwing out things that I simply will never use.

GETTING – Ready to take ALL the Christmas deco’s down….I like them gone before the New Year.

BOOKMARKING – New recipes to try, the currant repertoire is on repeat a little too often at the moment.

COVETING – A little more zen.

DISLIKING – Setting my alarm for 4am every work day.

OPENING – A bottle of Sav Blanc, as long as its from Marlborough…..ahhhh the joy!

GIGGLING – At how much mess a little jar of glitter can make, I even had to have a shower to get rid of the last little bits that were stuck to me.

FEELING – Ready for some big changes!

SNACKING – That is one thing I am an expert at and something I need to seriously tackle head on in the New Year.

HEARING – The Kookaburras singing their song every morning, just one of the things that I love about living in Australia.

Thanks to Pip from Meet Me At Mikes for this great list.

No matter what life has thrown at you this year, hopefully its lots of good things, a new year is brings with it hope and the chance for a fresh start.

Cheers to a good one for you all.

xxx Nikki















Plan B Brisbane Planners Retreat

Planner Stack

I fell down the planner lovers rabbit hole about 4 years ago, and whilst I love all the pretty planner things, it can be quite a lonely hobby as not a single friend or family member shares this passion. Thankfully a group of awesome women started organising planner days so that we could get together regularly to share our love of planning.

We had talked about having a planner getaway and Maddie from Little Tabby Co. decided to make this a reality. She sourced an Airbnb up in Mount Tamborine with room for 10 ladies and the tickets sold out in a flash.

Now I love a girls weekend away and if there are planners involved, I am in! ‘Cedarleesa’ is a beautiful property nestled in a valley, surrounded by greenery.

Cedarleesa Mt Tamborine

A giant shed has been turned into a comfy and cosy home away from home with two outdoor living areas, beds for 10, two full bathrooms with one featuring a spa and a fully equipped kitchen. We were all suitably impressed and ready for a night of fun.

There are chickens clucking around in the grass nearby, the resident dogs just walk right in and make themselves feel at home whilst accepting the never ending pats that were offered.

Australian property life

Meeting the ‘locals’ included feeding these two beauties with a bale of hay that the owners dropped off for us. For a few of the ladies this was the first time they had got up close and personal with a horse, let alone fed one.

Planner Swag

What would a planner girls retreat be without swag? AND we got tons of it, thanks to the generous donations from lots of Aussie planner shops and goodies that Maddie arranged. Do you see that Simply Guilded gorgeousness in that pile?

Maddie went above and beyond in organising activities to keep us occupied during our stay. We all brought a ‘Secret Santa’ gift and had great fun playing the ‘Naughty Santa’ version which allowed us to steal other peoples pressies that caught our eye.

No planner girls retreat is complete without some crafty fun. We were split into pairs and were given a blank Erin Condren spread and a pile of sticker left overs and we had to use just that and washi tape to create the best spread we possibly could.

For dinner we had fabulous wood fired pizza’s and garlic bread that the owners made for us and all we had to do was put them through oven. Whilst dinner was cooking the owners son built us a bonfire so we could toast marshmallows.

Super toasted on the outside and super soft inside…yum!

After a few wines and a shot of Tequila, we played Pin The Sticker On The Planner Spread, with the goal being to try and get the sticker into the box as straight as possible whilst blind folded.

Planner retreat games

I almost won that game, but Maddie was the last one to place the sticker down and it was so close to perfect, she nailed it!

The night was cooling down rapidly so we were all cosy inside going through tons of papers that had been printed out with the intention of making dividers with all the die cuts and other pretties that had been brought along, but not a single one was made, we too busy chatting and snacking on the huge amount of yumminess that everyone contributed to.

Breakfast was toasted egg sandwiches made from fresh eggs that had been collected the day before by the owner and dropped off into the kitchen…..got to love the country way of eating.

When you get 10 ladies together that don’t really know each other, it can swing one of two ways. It can be filled with awkward silence and feelings of uncomfortableness or it can be a time filled with laughter, chatter and sharing the one thing we are all so passionate about and for all of us it was definitely the latter.

None of us wanted to go home, it was just so much fun in such a lovely setting.

Thanks to the huge success of this very first retreat, another is being planned for 2019 and also a weekend Food and Wine cruise in the latter half of next year. Keep your eyes glued to the Plan B Facebook page for details as they become available, as you don’t want to miss out again!

What would be the most important thing for you to have at a planners retreat?

Paint and Sip Class – A colourful way to have fun!

paint and sip fun

When a dear friend suggested we go to a Paint and Sip class for a Sunday afternoon outing, I said yes straight away…there was paint and champagne on offer! She had found out about an art studio heart n’ hoopla that had recently started these fun events and it was not very far from home.

One of my biggest passions is playing with craft supplies but strangely enough, paint plays a big part in my creative endeavours, but not where a canvas is involved. Even though I know my way around all the different types of paint available and can wield a brush, I was a little concerned about playing on a big piece.

My fears were quelled quickly once we started as we were guided through the process step by step with lots of helpful hints from our fab teacher Teresa.

paint and sip class ferny grove

The hardest part of the whole experience was trying to paint the horizon line straight, and honestly that was only hard because the perfectionist in me hates lines that are not straight!

paint and sip beach class

My favourite tip of the day was to paint clouds using your finger tip…worked like a charm!

painting made fun

My friend Sue (on the right) had never picked up a paint brush in her life before, but look how amazing her painting is!

A quick google or Facebook search should help you find a class not too far from home. Some include your alcohol and some do not. Ours was BYO so we took a little piccolo of bubbles as we both had to drive. For $35.00 we had everything else provided including canvas, paints, brushes and two hours of tuition which I think is a real bargain.

As the beach is my happy place, I have hung mine up on the wall with pride as I never thought I could create something that looked so good. Just like Sue, even if you have never painted a thing, this really is a great way to tap into your hidden creative and end up with a canvas you will be proud of.

With Christmas creeping up very quickly, a Paint and Sip class would make a great gift for that friend that has everything or simply shout yourself an outing and charge it off to selfcare, as it really is just so much fun and nowhere near as frustrating as I thought it might be.

Do you have a creative pastime?

Have you ever been to a Paint and Sip class?

Soul Seasons Planner – A fresh new way to set goals, make plans and stay organised

life planner

My eyes light up every time I see a new planner and if you could just take a quick glance around my office, you would see that my addiction to pretty paper planning is very real. When this stunning Soul Seasons planner arrived on my desk for a review, it was love at first sight.

This planner is quite different from the traditional paper planners currently available. It has been designed to be goal setting work book combined with space to make lists and action plans. As the name suggests this planner is seasonal with this first edition being for Spring 2018, and then the next one will be Summer and so forth, so you get to enjoy that beautiful brand new planner feeling 4 times a year!

Carlie Maree is a writer, teacher and mentor who created this planner as there was nothing quite like this available, that provided enough space for focusing on what is really important to you, keeping on track with your progress and ensuring you did not forget important dates.


As this planner has been designed to be a goal setting work book, combined with a space for recording action steps and time management there is a great introduction to help you make the most of this section.

There is a double page spread for each of the 9 important life goals included so you have lots of room to make notes.

australian seasonal planner

As you move into the planner section you have a full month-at-a-glance page, plus an additional page to make project notes.

australian paper planner


At the start of each week (starts on a Monday) you have a two page ‘A shiny new week’ spread, which again gives you plenty of room to really hone into what is most important for the next seven days.

Australian paper planner

AND finally, each day of the week has a full two page spread that includes a to-do list, a half hourly timed list from 6am to 10pm and the opposite page is blank for you write out all your thoughts and feelings.

Soul Seasons Life Goal Workbook

With so much lovely space to play with you could decorate it with stickers, sketch down ideas, add some memory keeping or art journaling, jot down positive affirmations or simply have a great brain dump and get everything down on paper and out of your head.


The first thing you notice about this planner is the awesome cover. It is solid plastic rather than a laminated version that is a common inclusion in many paper planners, so it will withstand the rigors of carrying it with you in your bag.

It measures 24.4cm down and 17cm across (not including the metal coil) so it is a little bigger than an Erin Condren and almost identical to a Happy Planner.

The paper quality is superb at 120 GSM and so this planner is quite thick at 2.2cm. All 260 pages include full colour printing, not just a pretty cover.

planner pen testplanner pen test

The paper passed the pen test beautifully with the exception of the sharpie, but that was to be expected as this style of pen will bleed through just about every paper type.

This beautiful planner is a quality product and if you would love a single place to keep track of your goals and important dates it could be the perfect choice for you. Unfortunately as this new release planner was so popular the Spring edition has sold out, but you can pre-order the Summer addition at a special discounted rate here. …. and it will look like this (mock up image).

Please leave a comment if you have any questions and I will be happy to help.

Do you spend time writing down your goals and creating an action plan to make them a reality?

Have you found planner peace?

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