5 Things To Do Right Now For A Relaxed Christmas

There is nothing like being stuck at home with a broken toe to find time to do things that have been neglected and my blog is on that list. I have weathered the covid storm and whilst lucky to have an essentials services job, its been tough and exhausting going to work with all the extra stress and unrealistic expectations placed on all of us by our employer.

This year has been tough for everyone in some way and whilst Australia breathes a little easier right now with Covid numbers being so low, we know that could all change in a flash.

I for one am ready to sprinkle this festive season with all the glitter and sequins I can muster as I want this year to end with lots of sparkle and then I look forward to giving it a good kick up the butt and sending it on it’s merry way!

Being organised helps keep me calm, lists help me to not forget things, and I need this Christmas to fun and joyful knowing everything is under control and if you would like to feel the same way, grab a notebook, a pen and a cuppa and make this thing happen.

  1. MAKE A LIST OR TEN!

Crossing things off a list is very satisfying, so write down all the things and keep each area on a separate sheet because if the list is too long its tempting to not use it at all as its so overwhelming. Start with these ones:-

  • Gifts to buy
  • Wrapping/cards supplies
  • Food to prepare
  • Travel arrangements
  • Pantry supplies
  • Freezer supplies
  • Drinks supplies
  • Decorations needed
  • Anything else that is specific to your festivities.

With the Black Friday sales about to start and with most running right through the weekend, its the perfect time to get that present shopping done and dusted at the best price.

2. BUY AUSTRALIAN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

It’s been a disastrous year for many families and businesses, and more than ever we need to spend our money wisely and support our own.

I appreciate that due to high productions costs in Australia so many companies have had to rely on foreign countries for their stock and so many of our iconic companies are owned by overseas investors, but we can all make a conscious effort to read labels or buy handmade. Everything we do buy in Australia is helping to feed a family and giving someone a job.

One of the saddest things that I watch unfold everyday is the huge number of items on the supermarket shelves that are filled with produce from overseas. Almost all the tin/frozen products that are labelled under the house brands of our major supermarkets are now coming from China, and I for one will NOT eat anything like that to save a dollar or two. Even big brand names like Edgell are sneaking Chinese corn into can thinking we may not notice….well I have!

AND don’t get me started on bacon as you really need to get your detective hat on to find bacon that actually uses Aussie pork. We live in a country that produces awesome produce and meat, we need to eat it and help our farmers survive and be able to feed all of us.

Here are a couple of really good Facebook pages/groups to follow if you want ideas for products that are good to buy and will support our local industries.

Australian Made Products – click here

Make The Swap – click here

Australian Made & Owned Food – click here

One Day Closer To Rain – Rural Cottage Crafts – click here

I am sure there are plenty more, but these three are full of great products to help you purchase wisely.

3. STOCK UP ON NON-PERISHABLE ITEMS NOW

None of us are going to forget the great toilet paper debacle of 2020 in a hurry and walking into a modern day supermarket to see nothing but almost empty shelves was kind of eerie.

Just last week a small cluster broke out in South Australia and once again they raced to the shops and started clearing the shelves, honestly you would really think we had learned that if we all buy what we need there is enough to go around.

On that note though, starting to stock your pantry with non-perishable items now could hold you in good stead should another cluster arise in your neighborhood. It also spreads the financial pain over a few weeks instead of that big hit in the final week.

That goes for decorations, table displays and disposable dinner wear, cups etc. Its amazing how many people are so disappointed that there is little or no stock available just a few days before Christmas when they go to buy all the things.

Enjoy having a full selection of items to pick from and start shopping for anything that wont go off now.

4. BOOK APPOINTMENTS TODAY

If you need to make appointments for December, do them now so you don’t miss out. Will you need the services of any of these in the lead up to the big day?

  • Hairdresser
  • Nail Technician
  • Beauty Therapist
  • Car Servicing
  • New Tires
  • Air conditioning Service
  • Doctors for medication scrips or check ups.

Add anything else that you think you might need to that list and get those dates locked in.

5. BRING ON THE BAUBLES, NOW

This will be the first year that I will break with my tradition and put up my decorations before the 1st of December, and I know I am not the only one.

We all need some cheering up and nothing does it better that twinkling lights, shiny baubles and lots of glitter.

My other favourite part of Christmas is the scents and I have essential oil burners, melts and candles in action every night during December. They are so warming and inviting, and I am ready for it all.

Get the family involved, and I am pretty sure the kids will not mind one little bit. If you already have yours up, congratulations and I hope they are filling your day with joy!

Stay safe and healthy and lets roll through the last month of this horrid year with as much fun and festivity that we can muster!

xxxx Nikki

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?

747Farewell Goodbye Queen Of The Skies!

Today marks a sad day for anyone even remotely interested in the Australian aviation industry. Thanks to that damn virus Covid-19, Qantas made the decision to terminate the use of 747’s as part of its commercial passenger fleet way early than initially planned.

In 1971 Qantas took delivery of its first Boeing 747 and changed way the way Australians traveled overseas. This elegant and powerful plane was able to carry us on long haul flights without the need for multiple stops.

Fondly known as the ‘Queen Of The Skies’ she has safely transported us to all corners of the globe and thanks to my 13 years in the travel industry I have spent many hours onboard this magical aircraft heading off on fabulous adventures.

KLM withdrew the 747’s from service in March, Qantas only announced it’s plans a month ago, and just days ago British Airways followed suit with an immediate halt.

I never got to go to Phuket in April as we were banned from travelling and I honestly didn’t think I would fly anywhere this year, and had resigned myself to never flying on a Jumbo again! Until…………..

Qantas announced that they were going to do 3 #747farewell flights, one from Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. My eldest daughter and I share a passion for travel and planes and we sooooo wanted to be on this one, but honestly never thought we would have a chance of securing tickets but we were going to try.

It was the longest 8 minutes of my life as Bec battled a glitchy reservation system that was struggling with an onslaught at 12nn on the 8th of July, but we got our seats and found out that it only took 14 minutes for all three flights to be booked out. We were beside ourselves with glee.

Our day started at the Qantas Club lounge which reopened after months of covid closure. Coffee, fruit salad plus an egg and bacon roll was a nice way to start the day. Was so excited to get an actual boarding pass as these are really a thing of the past now. We also got a goody bag with a flag, cap, amenities kit and a face mask.

Its not everyday you see a 747 at the gate in a domestic terminal!

Covid safe boarding was quick as the aircraft was not going out at full capacity. Our taxi to takeoff included a water salute from the fire brigade. I just could not believe I was on a plane, and a 747 at that!

A beautiful low sweep at only 2000mt over Brisbane city was spectacular and we did it twice so that passengers on both sides of the aircraft got a great view. If you were on the ground and didn’t know about this flight you might have been wondering what the hell was going on.

No sooner had the seat belt sign been turned off everyone was up and moving about, chatting and looking for that perfect photo opportunity. It truly felt like a party and even though they did make announcements regularly asking us to remain seated, no one was really listening.

Beautiful day out on the bay!

We could have not asked for a more perfect day weather wise for a scenic farewell flight. We gently flew down to the Gold Coast and it was picture perfect.

We then headed back up the coast admiring the brilliant blue water and sky until we landed and hour and 15 minutes later. There may have been a tear or two in my eyes when the final announcements were made including the fact that our pilot had just completed his very last flight and was now going to enjoy retirement.

But instead of being taken back to the gate, we got to go to the hanger and admire her beauty from the ground.

And I touched her belly!

I have walked under a jumbo before at the United Airlines maintenance base in San Francisco, but once again I was in awe of her size and beauty.

A final glimpse before boarding buses to be transported back to the terminal.

Was it worth $400, absolutely! Its a chapter that’s now closed, and it was the best mother/daughter date I could have asked for in a year where travel is not allowed, and I got to fly in a plane again. This #avgeek is very grateful for the experience.

…and we are famous now, we made it on to the news, Bec and I are the two blondes behind the lady with the red sleeve!

With Captain Sharelle Quinn in command, at 3.29, QF7474 took off from Mascot Airport in Sydney, enjoyed a half hour flight over the city and suburbs at only 1200ft and is now somewhere over the Pacific on her way to the Majave desert and her final port of call.

It is the end of an incredible aviation success story and her distinctive shape will be missed at airports all over the world. Farewell VH-OEJ Wunala, enjoy your final majestic sweep across the Pacific.

Have you ever flown on a 747?

Hello Long Service Leave!

Ten years ago I walked into Woolworths Chermside West to start my first shift in the online department which had only been operating for a couple of months, little did I know that a decade later I would still be there!

In the early days we only picked orders at night, so I would start at 8pm and often work till the wee hours of the morning. We used flat top trolleys with crates that the fruit and veggies used to be delivered to the stores in. Each order had to be picked separately using a clipboard and pen to tick off items as we packed them.

As the service grew in popularity we saw the introduction of day shift starting early in the morning, yeah my alarm goes off at 3am most mornings, the arrival of custom designed trolleys and totes and an automated picking system that allows you to pick multiple orders at one time, and whilst it is far from perfect it is way more efficient.

There have been plenty of tears, lots of laughter, more bruises than I can count, a crushed meniscus, and many bouts of sheer exhaustion but I am still there and now me leave account is nice and full and I could take more than three months off fully paid if I wanted to…..but we can’t really go anywhere right now!

I have had many days where I have been so tempted to walk out the door and not go back after working so hard to get the orders completed with not enough staff that I ache, but low and behold the last few months I have definitely not been one of the many unlucky people who have lost their job due to Covid-19 but probably have had one of the most secure jobs in the country. I will be honest though and seeing all the people doing the right thing and staying home, working from home and not having to get up at ungodly o’clock to work 5 days a week has made me a little jealous. Spending days crafting away in my studio would be rather blissful.

So for now I will keep going to work and building up my leave account even more, and keeping dreaming about holidays like the one I was meant to go to in April to Phuket and hopefully one day our borders will open again and we can grab our passports and head to the airport.

What have you had to cancel thanks to Covid-19?

Espresso Martini Balls

Every Christmas and Easter I am in charge of baking all the festive treats. This recipe for Espresso Martini Balls was an experiment that blended two recipes together because I love Espresso Martini’s and I wanted to add something different to my usual offerings.

There is nothing really Christmassy about these yummy morsels so you could make them for any occasion and they can be made a few days in advance if needed and they freeze really well if you want to keep a stock of them on hand for unexpected visitors or you want a really yummy midnight snack.

Ingredients

1 x 250gm packet of scotch finger biscuits

1/2 cup of ground almond meal

1 tin sweetened condensed milk

1 cup sultanas

1/4 cup Kahlua

1/4 cup Vodka

1 shot of strong coffee

2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 extra tablespoon of cocoa

Method

  1. In a sealable container place the sultanas, Kahlua and Vodka. It is ideal if this can be done at least one day in advance so the sultanas absorb the alcohol and become nice and plump. Every now and then turn the container upside down so that all the sultanas come into contact with the spirits.
  1. Make a fresh shot of coffee, allow it to cool and then add it to the sultanas before you start preparing the rest of the mixture.
  2. Place the scotch finger biscuits into a large jug or bowl and use a stab blender to crush them into fine crumbs. You can use your food processor for this step, I just don’t because I am too lazy to wash all the pieces.
  3. Add the almond meal, condensed milk, sultanas and cocoa then stir together with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  4. Please the mixture into the fridge for at least 2 hours to firm up.
  5. Combine the coconut and extra cocoa in a bowl until well mixed.
  6. Line a large tray with baking paper (saves washing up later)
  7. Using a dessert spoon, scoop out mixture and roll into balls, and then roll them in the coconut/cocoa mix until well covered and put onto the lined baking tray.
  8. Place the tray in the fridge to let them firm again then place them in a sealable container to stop them from drying out or put them in the freezer.

This recipe makes approximately 30 generous sized balls.
What is your favourite Christmas treat that you make each year?

These Espresso Martini balls will definitely being making an appearance next Christmas!

The First Aussie Planner Cruise!

Four years ago I accidentally spied a picture of a decorated planner, that night was filled with googling and YouTubing as this crafty mumma had stumbled upon something that made my heart sing. Little did I know that I would fall down the rabbit hole that is all stickers, washi tape and pretty pens. If you had told me back then that I would end up on a planner cruise with a group of like minded women, I would have told you in no uncertain terms that you were completely nuts!

What started as a bit of joke over a few wines at the Plan B Brisbane retreat weekend last year, became reality last week as we set sail for Airlie Beach on the Pacific Dawn and oh boy, we had so much fun.

The cruise co-ordinator team! (L to R)

Maddie from @littletabbieco, Issie from @issiebee.designs and Nikki (that’s me) from @wwdesignsshop.

The three of us worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality and organised activities and swag to make it a real planners cruise.

So no doubt, you are all wondering what we actually got up to on our four night cruise up to Airlie Beach and back, and it went something like this.

Our first ‘official’ event was a 5.30pm meet and greet drinks session up at the Dome Bar. Every participant was asked to bring a welcome gift for each member of the group. It could be something from your shop if you had one or you could buy goodies or make something. We all received so many lovely things and that was just the start of the swag collection we would be bringing home.

We all had a lovely dinner in the Waterfront Restaurant followed by a couple of drinks and it was off to bed to be gently rocked to sleep.

Our first planner session on Day 2 included the absolutely necessary planner stack and the handing out of the swag bags which were loaded with lots of generous donations from Aussie Planner Shops. Mine is still intact and I will post a YouTube video on my channel WW Designs very shortly.

Tammy and Issie were having an ‘Oprah’ moment…SWAG FOR EVERYONE!

We then had to put our planning skills to the test. Every participant was given a blank EC spread, a selection of left over sticker sheets, 20 minutes and were only allowed to use their own washi tape and pens!

Its damn hard to create a great looking page when you only have ONE full box in all the stickers you were given! Others fared better than I did and created some great spreads in such a short time frame.

After a break for lunch we were back at it! This session was a ‘crafternoon’ and we made a shaker bookmark with the help of a table full of supplies.

Its a great little souvenir of our cruisy adventure.

Drinks, chats and dinner rounded off a really fun day and we headed to bed quite early so that we could be up before dawn to see the sunrise and enjoy the experience of cruising in through all the islands to Airlie Beach.

This day was kept free of planner activities so that those that wanted to set off on an adventure or simply spend time with their families could do so. Issie went on a full day snorkelling tour and Tammy did a half day Kayaking trip, whilst most of us headed into Airlie Beach for a spot of shopping and a swim in the lagoon and the ocean. Perfect weather ensured we all had a great day.

That night we all donned our pj’s for a PLANJAMA party! We all met in Maddie and Issie’s cabin for a fun filled couple of hours. The night started with the ‘Great Washi Swap’. We all brought a selection of our favourite washi tapes, we provided a heap of washi cards and everyone got a great a selections of samples to add to their stash as each bag of goodness was passed around the room.

We played an old fashioned game of pass the parcel, blindfolded stick the sticker in the box and everyone brought a gift along for good old naughty secret santa where stealing was encouraged……well we were on a ship so we might as well behave like pirates.

The next day at sea as we started the journey home, our morning session was an awesome mess making experience. I made everyone a basic junk journal and filled the table with all sorts of things to decorate them with.

For two hours we were hard at work creating pages that we can now fill with photos and journaling as a great reminder of our trip.

We also pulled out the watercolours and gelato’s and some of the group had never played with these things before and are now going out to buy some because they enjoyed it so much.

My first attempt at painting jellyfish.

After lunch we managed to score a big table up on deck, and we lazed the afternoon away playing with watercolours, sipping drinks and chatting. The perfect way to spend an afternoon.

That night we enjoyed our last sit down, 3 course dinner. Unfortunately we had to pack up our rooms ready for arrival back in Brisbane……sigh!

We were blessed with beautiful blue skies, calm seas, a great group of fun loving ladies and all in all we could not have asked for a better cruise. The food was great, the coffee was good and the staff onboard were so helpful in ensuring our area was ready for us each session. As the Pacific Dawn does not have conference facilities that are not theatre style, P & O offered for us to use the Waterfront Restaurant for each session and it worked out perfectly.

AND yes, we will definitely do it again!

Make sure you join the Plan B Goes Cruising Facebook group so that you don’t miss announcements for our next adventure on the high seas!

Do you like cruising and would you like to join us next time?

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.

AN INTERESTING READ

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.

BARGAIN BEAUTY BUY

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.

PREMIUM GOODNESS BREAKFAST IN FLASH

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.

ALL THE ROSE GOLD THINGS PLEASE

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.

SUPER NEW SNACK

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!

THE BELVEDERE, ONE OF BRISBANE’S BEST KEPT SECRETS

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!

Sharing for #lovinlifelinky at Write Of The Middle.com

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?

Sharing for #lovinlifelinky at Write Of the Middle.com

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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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?

Sharing for #lovinlifelinky at Write Of The Middle.com

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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