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.

DARK CHOCOLATE

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.

OILY FISH

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.

OATS

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.

YOGHURT

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.

BANANAS

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.

LEAN RED MEAT

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?

Sharing for ‘Lovin’ Life Linky’ at Write Of The Middle.com

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.

scraptherapy

 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.

SO WHAT IS INSIDE?

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.

FACTS AND FIGURES

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?

The Brisbane Planner Markets

Little did I know that when I discovered decorative planning by shear accident 4 years ago, that I would fall down a rabbit hole of stickers, pens, washi tape and sticky notes, and that there would be enough people in Brisbane that love the same things to justify setting up something as awesome as the Brisbane Planner Market!

Brisbane planner addicts

Just look at that line-up, they are not waiting for coffee!

In the past I would faithfully buy a new diary in December, with full intention of using it religiously to stay organised and I would get to about the 4th of January and it would all but be forgotten for another year. Not long after discovering this strange new crafty world, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway of a Happy Planner from an awesome lady in the USA who knew how hard it was for people outside her country to access all the goodies that are readily available to them. This whole pretty planning thing appealed to me so much as I have always loved playing with crafty things and once I fell down this rabbit hole, I had the perfect excuse to sit down each week and decorate my planner, but best of all I actually use it for its intended purpose every single week.

In those few short years things have changed dramatically. There are lots of incredibly creative people that make all the planner supplies and online stores that import goodies that we crave. Thanks to the tireless organising efforts of Bianca from Washi Tape Australia we have just had the 4th Brisbane Planner Market and Sydney and Melbourne have hosted their own as well.

WW Designs Brisbane Planner Market

I have been a stallholder with my shop WW Designs for all 4 markets, and whilst my business has allowed me to make pretty things for planners which I just love doing, especially if sparkly things are involved, the market is a fun way to spend time with people who love doing what I do and understand the insatiable desire to buy ALL the stationary things.

The Brisbane Planner Market is a great day out for planners obviously, but it is so much more than sticker shops on steroids. You will find beautiful note books, pretty pens, stamping and scrapbooking supplies and you can even take classes to learn a new skill.

This quick video gives you a really good overview of how awesome the day was and the volume of people that made the effort to come along. If you have been sitting on the fence about whether it is worth visiting, it really is a fun day where you get to meet all the great stall holders, buy special release products and not pay any shipping fees….oh and Australia Post can’t lose your goodies! Don’t miss out on this great day because you need to go alone, its a perfect opportunity to meet a new planner friend and if you don’t like crowds, just go later in the morning after the initial wave has passed.

The next Brisbane Planner market is currently penciled in for May 2019. Follow the Brisbane Planner Markets Facebook page for updates so you can get the date in your planner as soon as it is announced, and don’t forget to say hello when you pass my stall!

Did you go the Brisbane Planner Market?

 

Favourite Finds Autumn 2018

The last 3 months have gone by in a flash and have brought so many changes, together with a lot of stress and exhaustion but thankfully there is peace on the horizon and a few great discoveries were made!

A NEW HOME

Its official, I hate moving house! A decision to downsize from a very large four bedroom home with a shed to a smaller home without a shed brought a heap of challenges as not only did we have to pack, we had to do a huge declutter as there was no way everything was going to have a spot in our new place.

It is times like this that being a single mumma is tough as the workload was huge, but we got it done and thanks to a troupe of Miss WW friends who came to our assistance we got it done.

A beautiful lake is now part of my walk and I got to the meet the ‘locals’ on my very first visit.

Not only is moving house hard work, it does not help when you have a ‘little’ accident at work and crush your meniscus. Valuable lesson learned, do not jump down off a pallet with your hands full and land on a concreate slab with all your weight behind it. Your knee will be eternally grateful.

Seven weeks later, it is 95% healed and will eventually be perfect we hope, but at least every step no longer causes immense pain.

WHO NEEDS CARAMILK WHEN YOU CAN HAVE THIS

The release of Caramilk by Cadbury caused downright hysteria. Even though I love chocolate and caramel things, I waited patiently for stocks to arrive in the supermarket and bought I single block so I could try it. Have to say I was quite disappointed with the taste and could not understand why people were buying it in bulk and hoarding it.

Better than caramilk

One of my work colleagues suggested I try this alternative and oh boy, it is so much better and can still be purchased today unlike Caramilk which is gone. Do yourself a favour and buy this if caramel flavoured chocolate is your thing, you will not be disappointed.

CRUELTY FREE SKINCARE

Packing up my bathroom to move was an interesting experience. I was amazed at the amount of products that had amassed in the cupboards. I started reading labels as that is something I really had time for….not. But there were so many items that were literally just chemical cocktails and I had decided that I only want to use products that are not tested on animals, as I don’t see why my looks should come at the price of animal cruelty.

When the lovely ladies from KOSMEA approached me a while back to see if I would be interested in trialling a selection of their natural skin care range, I did my homework before I said yes and this range more than ticks the boxes of offering ethical products.

The first thing I noticed when I started using the products was that the clarifying facial wash did not foam up, which is proof that it is not laden with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a known skin irritant and is actually used in pesticide. It also did not leave my skin feeling taught and dry, just beautifully clean. All the other products are also a delight to use and incredibly good value for money.

Another favourite product is the jazzy cleansing cloth that is a great alternative to disposable facial wipes. A gentle massage with this cloth will remove all make up and exfoliate in one hit which is so much better for the environment and avoiding the harsh chemicals used in many of the disposable options. They have an extensive range and you can discover it all here.

REUNION

Many years ago we used to live in South Australia. I went to a local area school as we lived almost two hours south of Adelaide. I made some really good friends there, but we all split apart and headed to schools in the city in the hope of getting a decent education in year 11. I moved to Brisbane as the rest of my family had relocated here and thankfully one of those girls is still a great friends after all these years. Three of us had a reunion that involved much talking, eating and drinking as you do.

If you like to sip on a G&T, you have to try this! Not only is it visually fun to make as the colour changes from a violet to a pretty pink when you add tonic water, it is also one of the nicest Gin’s I have tried in a long time. My friend got given a bottle as a gift and hung on to it until we had our get together and I am very grateful she did. Whilst happily sipping away we managed to track down number 4 and phoned her for a catch up. Number 5’s whereabouts still alludes us but one day we just might find her.

DISCOVERING A NEW ‘LOCAL’

It is amazing how long you can live in an area and still find awesome places to eat that you didn’t even know existed!

My bestie invited me out for lunch and she took me to the Samford Lifestyle Centre. How this awesome place flew under my radar for so long astounds me. Obviously they have a restaurant that only has a smallish menu, but everything is made fresh with local ingredients where possible.

Smoked salmon and ricotta patties

These ricotta patties with smoked salmon and homemade beetroot relish were simply amazing. They also make really good coffee and have a cake cabinet full of unique treats rather than the same old slices and tarts that come from commercial kitchens.

Not only can you enjoy dining in rural surroundings, there are shops, yay!  A fabulous gift shop, a nursery, an organic/natural store with skin care, cleaning products, a yarn store, a day spa and more. This is definitely not a place to visit for a quick bite to eat, you really need to allow a few hours to fully enjoy it.

What great new things have you discovered that I should check out this winter, as I really need something to brighten up my most unfavourite season of the year???

Sharing for the Lovin’ Life Linky at 50 Shades Of Age

 

 

 

Favourite Finds This Summer

Summer has sure thrown some hot days at us over the past few weeks and the last couple of rainy days have brought great relief. I love summer but as I can’t spend every day at the beach unfortunately, so I am always looking for ways to make coping with the heat a little easier. Here are some of my favourite finds that have helped me survive the heat wave.

DRY FINISH SUNSCREEN

At the beginning of summer Miss WW spent a couple of weekends away at the beach and scored herself some pretty bad sunburn. I keep reminding her to apply ALL the sunscreen ALL the time to protect her beautiful skin, it easy to get caught up in all the fun and forgetting to reapply regularly has not been happening. I tried to get her to use good old zinke stick especially on her nose, but most sunscreens tend to make her break out and she hates that.

dry finish sunscreen helps avoid breakout

After checking out all the sunscreens on the shelf these two have proved to be real winners in our house. Dry touch sunscreen is the bomb! That heavy and sticky feeling that is often experienced with normal sunscreen is no more. Both of these only take a couple of minutes to ‘set’ and you don’t even feel as though you have sunscreen on. Miss WW is happy to reapply regularly and neither of them caused her to breakout. That’s a major win in my books as life in Queensland without sunscreen is just not on.

COOL COTTON FOR HOT DAYS

Wearing long sleeves in summer for sun protection is a great idea, but ahhhh no, its too hot for that! I was invited to a picnic in the park on the banks of the Brisbane river and rain was forecast for that evening and I thought it might get a bit cool once the clouds rolled in.

Cool cotton for hot summer days

This super light, 100% cotton long sleeved top from the Portobello range by Vivid International (gifted) turned out to be a perfect choice and was so cool to wear in the hot afternoon. The best thing about this top is it comes all rolled up and when you wash it you roll it up again and its crinkled look does not require ironing.

Just love the colours in this one!

KEEPING DRINKS SUPER COOL

Hot weather requires cold drinks and tiny little ice blocks that melt in a flash don’t help the cause.

Giant ice blocks are the answer and this awesome ice cube tray was one of my fav finds from Kmart and cost a whole $1.50 each. Buy a few and store them in a large plastic container so you always have plenty on hand.

keep cool with giant ice cubes

Freezing coffee in these and adding one to a glass of milk makes a very yummy iced coffee too!

RELAX WITH A GOOD READ

Just before Christmas my mum went to a charity market and bought three books for $1.00. She liked the look of the covers and thought they would be a good romance novel read. Had she read the back and saw the words such as warlocks and vampires she would have put them back in a flash. I am so grateful she didn’t.

The Infernal devices a great summer read

So not have I only devoured the three part The Infernal Devices book series, I am on the 6th and final installment of The Mortal Instruments. Miss WW has been a big fan of these for a few years and I showed zero interest in reading them. They are thrilling reads will lots of plot twists and I won’t mention that they are listed as ‘Young Adult’ reading….because I am way past that stage of life and just love reading them. This is one of new habits that I have been working on to go with my word of the year ‘Joy’.

The only other thing I need to find is a mascara that will not give me panda eyes when the heat is on. I have tried so many and not one of them has done what it promised! Any suggestions?

Have you found any great things this summer to help you keep cool?….and moving to the Southern States is not an option as I hate winter, even our pretty mild Brisbane version.

Sharing for #LLL at Write In The Middle.com

Hello 2018!

Hello 2018, I am very glad to see you.

Last year was full of challenges and exhaustion from over work and under relaxing, so this year things must change and I have to make myself a priority.

For the last few years I have chosen a #wordoftheyear and it all seemed like a good idea at the time, but I honestly did not live by my choice of word or achieve all the goals I had set.

So this year I will be doing things a little differently. There will be no goal setting, or making promises that might not be kept, instead there is a word and a question to ask myself every time a decision needs to made.

planner page makerMy word for 2018 is JOY!

I made myself this little page maker for my planner so that every single day I see a reminder that I get to choose to do things that bring me joy or things that wear me down.

Pushing myself to the brink has got to stop. Feeling guilty about taking downtime has got to stop. Stressing about the future has got to stop. Not expressing my true feelings has got to stop.

Less pain more fun is the plan!

I have big list of all the things that I love, and whilst I will not be throwing all responsibility to the wall, I am starting small by taking 15 minutes a day to just do whatever I like and will build on this as I adjust to being a little selfish. Small steps are better than no steps at all.

It is time to start filling the cup before it runs completely dry.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2018 and make sure you fill your cup, often!

Do you pick a #wordoftheyear and if so what is it?

Sharing for #LLL at writeinthemiddle.com

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