Tuesday, 31 January 2017

TUESDAY TIP: How to create order and focus for peaceful mornings

With most schools back this week, we thought tips that helped create peaceful mornings were rather timely. 

Certified feng shui consultant, Karen Kertesz recalls: 

"Our school morning routine was extremely busy with my daughter often in tears and stress culminating just before we walked out the door. 

It had been concerning me for a while, but then, not one but two new ideas came about that changed my mornings forever. 

The first change was in the order of things. Instead of getting myself ready first, I had my daughter ready with hair done, uniform on with shoes and socks BEFORE I went in the shower and got myself ready. So simple, right? But, the difference it made was incredible. No stress, no tears, and no raising my voice to coerce my daughter to finish getting dressed before we left for school.

Secondly, I realized there were just three main things to focus on in the morning - make breakfast, pack the lunches and get dressed for the day ahead. I began to focus on each one separately, with minimal crossover in-between.

First, I fed my daughter, then myself, then the pets.
Second, I prepared our lunches for the day with no distractions. If my daughter made a request, she came to me, not the other way around. This was a lovely side effect of being so focused. I was calling the shots!

Third, I helped my daughter get dressed, with minimal fuss. We tied back her hair and put on her shoes. Then, it was my turn to shower and prepare myself for work. 

And what did I find? There was time left over! No having to look at the clock every few minutes, just at the end of each main task. I checked the time a little at first, but once I knew that being focused made the task quicker, I realized that everything would indeed be completed. Solution found and morning peace returned."

Adapted from "Win Back Your Time" by Karen Kertesz
Karen is a certified feng shui consultant. "A flowing space in clutter's place". Learn more about Karen and her practice at www.emeraldspace.com.au

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Monday, 30 January 2017

My Top Gift Tips: Sara Eastwood, MyBestGift.com.au

The best gifts are ones that create happy memories, either by the way they're used, or by the memories they create when they are enjoyed. This is where "experiences" make great gifts, says Sara Eastwood from MyBestGift.com.au. Experiences are also a great choice for the "hard-to-buy-for" or people who don't like "stuff". 

1. The best gift I ever received was...
"A surprise weekend away to Palm Beach from my boyfriend (now husband)! I'd only been living in Sydney for short while and hadn't ventured up to the northern beaches. He was telling me how great it was and the next day called me to tell me he'd booked that weekend in Palm Beach for us. I loved it so much, we've since moved north (and got married and had two kids)!"

2. The top gift on my wish list is...
"Diving with Whale Sharks, but I think I'll have to wait a few years for that one."

3. The best gift I have ever given was...
"Oooh that's a tough one! Every year since we've had kids, I've done a photo book of our girls, for the grandparents' and great-grandparents' Christmas presents. It's the one gift that I know they all really appreciate and look forward to receiving and I love doing it for them."

4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is...
"My Dad. He's always been so content with what he has, never asks or wants for anything, which makes it tricky!"

5. The best last-minute gift is...
"An e-Voucher from MyBestGift.com.au. Give an experience gift to someone special! You can order these as late as Christmas morning, miss the craziness of the shopping centres and print it off at home, or email it direct to the recipient, easy!"

6. My hot gift buying tip is...
"Experiences!! Experiences create lasting memories and make us happier :-)"

Mum-of-two Sara Eastwood is from Sydney's Northern Beaches and is founder of www.MyBestGift.com.au.

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Sunday, 29 January 2017

WEEKLY SPECIAL: Weather Station with Wired Sensor NOW $35 (was $49.95)

It's gonna be a hot one this week! Watch the temperatures climb on your very own weather station. Only while stocks last. 

Friday, 27 January 2017

My Favourite Quote: Amanda Vanelderen, WorkWords

“Confidence is like respect, you have to earn it. Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn't always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine." 
- Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?

"I love the idea that you're allowed to feel entitled to something if you know you've worked hard for it. You don't have to be born confident, work hard at getting great at what you do, and you earn the right to confidence," says Amanda. 

Amanda Vanelderen is Chief Copywriter with WorkWords. Learn more at www.workwords.com.au

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Australia Day Recipes: Jelly Belly Pavlova

Super-charge your Pavlova this Australia Day by adding some delicious fruit-flavoured Jelly Belly jelly beans. The kids will love decorating this gorgeous Australia Day treat. 

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes, plus 30 minutes cooling time

Serves 6

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 drops vanilla essence
  • 300ml thickened cream, whipped
  • Jelly Belly beans to decorate

Australia Day Jelly Belly Pavlova

1. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Line a large tray with baking paper.
2. With 2 electric beaters, beat egg whites in a large clean bowl until sift peaks form. Slowly
beat in sugar ¼ cup at a time, until meringue is stiff and glossy. Sprinkle over cornflour,
vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a metal spoon.
3. Trace an outline of a map of Australia (perfect for the kids to do!) on the prepared baking
tray. Don’t forget Tassie!
4. Pile meringue into the centre of the map and gently push out to edges, keeping the
Australia shape. Repeat for Tassie. Top with any remaining meringue and pile as high as you can.
5. Reduce heat to 150°C or 130°C fan forced, and cook for 30-35 minutes till slightly golden.
Turn off oven and leave Pavlova to cool completely.
6. Spread with whipped cream and decorate with Jelly Belly jelly beans for the states and
territories. Dust with icing sugar if desired.

Jelly Belly used – Very Cherry, Green Apple, Lemon, Berry Blue, Blueberry, Cotton Candy and Tangerine.

Find out more about the Jelly Belly story and confectionary at www.jellybelly.com.au

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

TUESDAY TIP: Vanessa Treverrow, Simply Decluttered

Organising little things in your home can give you a huge boost. Vanessa Treverrow from Simply Decluttered shares some advice on a small area of the home you could tackle this week...

"The perfect organising solution is the one that works for you and your family. Let’s take the humble sock drawer. You may love the Marie Kondo style organisation of beautifully rolled socks graded from dark to light. Another person may love their socks in baskets according to type – sports socks, office socks and casual shoe socks. Or the Steve Jobs’ approach of every sock the same – very efficient and they never have to be paired again. Here’s a tip for parents: if you want your child or teenager to put away their own clothes and socks, make it possible for them. My own children each have their own style – and allowing them to go with what makes it easy for them to put away their own things. Less work for mum and dad and a calmer home for all. Enjoy!"

Decluttering is more than a buzz word - it's making space for life. www.simplydecluttered.com.au

Monday, 23 January 2017

My Top Gift Tips: Jodie McGregor, Jodie McGregor Flowers

The best gifts are the unexpected, thoughtful ones, like the big bunch of flowers Jodie McGregor received from some of her customers. This week Jodie shares her other Top Gift Tips with us...

1. The best gift I ever received was…
"A big bunch of flowers on Mother's Day given to me by some wonderful customers who wanted me to enjoy the day too. Their thoughtfulness after I'd worked 48 hours straight brought tears to my eyes."

2. The top gift on my wish list is… 
"A pre-booked massage and facial. Gift vouchers are great but when it's pre-booked you're not running around like crazy trying to use a voucher just before it expires."

3. The best gift I have ever given was…
"One that I got to share - a holiday to Bedarra Island with my husband and three kids. Gorgeous sunsets, crystal clear water and.......no shops or mobile reception!"

Bedarra Island holiday gift

4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is…
"My husband as he has no filter and says exactly what he thinks of any present I buy him. I guess I can't complain that he's not honest........."

5. The best last-minute gift is…
"A magazine subscription. It's quick and easy and the recipient gets to enjoy a nice surprise all year round."

6. My hot gift buying tip is….....
"Think beyond roses at Valentine's Day. Supply and demand issues push the prices of roses up but not other flowers."

Jodie is the founder of Jodie McGregor Flowers, the winner of the 2016 NSW and ACT Sydney Fresh Florist of the Year and creates stunning floral bouquets online and at her Annandale, Sydney retail store. www.jodie.com.au 

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

WEEKLY SPECIAL: Sow-n-sow Seeds NOW $7 (were $9.95)

Make the most of this growing season - grab some of these seeds and get them into the ground this month. Only while stocks last. 

Saturday, 21 January 2017

GIFT OF THE WEEK: Leather Tool Belt (large) $54.95

Keep your tools at your finger tips with this handy Leather Tool Belt, which features:
- Two pockets to hold tools such as secateaurs or a small garden trowel, fork, etc. 
- An adjustable waist strap.

This tool belt would also be handy for DIY enthusiasts to put their pliers, screwdriver and other tools in.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

My Favourite Quote: Leann Middlemass, Wellness coach

This week Wellness coach Leann Middlemass shares two of her favourite quotes with us:

"You are your own Destiny."

"I teach personal development and understand that decisions come from what we know. 
Our memories are activated and the attached emotion (which attaches itself at inception) provides our actions and reactions in the now. You can only hold one memory at a time, thus one emotion. So you get to choose if you want to happy or sad. So how you feel is up to you. Therefore you are your own destiny," explains Leann. 

"If nothing changes - nothing changes."

"We all know that knowledge is king, but without action it’s fruitile.
Imagine stepping into an elevator and wanting to go to the fourth floor but not pushing the button. The doors close - yet nothing happens. You are right where you are even if an hour passes. You have to make the first step (push the button to the forth floor.)
If you do not make the effort nothing happens. Therefore if nothing changes (and you just stand in the elevator) then nothing changes (you are right where you started.) 

Leann Middlemass is a Wellness coach, specialising in cognitive behavioural therapy. Leann can help unlock the traumas from the past that could be impacting your life in the now. Leann believes that "Once we leave the past behind we have the opportunity to live ever day in the present. It is here that happiness resides." Learn more at www.soulinsights.com.au

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

TUESDAY TIP: How to communicate effectively with Slack

Brandon Schroth, a Digital Analyst for RAMS Home Loans says his tool of choice for communicating effectively is Slack: 

"I’m always trying to figure out ways to become more productive in order to meet tight deadlines. Communicating effectively with my team plays a large role in that and I’ve found that the most efficient way to keep in touch with everyone is through an app called Slack. Instead of trying to communicate through phone calls, texting, email, and Skype, everything runs smoothly as it's integrated through the app. 

It’s really cool because I can talk about various subjects in different channels so that everyone on the team is able to see any updates, pictures, files and more. I can’t tell you how many times I struggled to maintain email threads that were a mile long. This tool has really helped condense all of that. It’s really easy to find content as well. Everything is searchable from one main search box."

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Monday, 16 January 2017

My Top Gift Tips: Sarah Phillips, Oh So Coco

This week Sarah Phillips from Oh So Coco shares why tickets to the cricket were the greatest gift she has given, as well as her other gift giving and receiving experiences...

1. The best gift I ever received was... 
"A day spa gift voucher. What a wonderful experience, a little pampering was just what I needed after working hard all year."

2. The top gift on my wish list is…
"An air fryer. I've been wanting one for so long as my husband & I are trying to eat a healthier diet to set a good example for our kids."

3. The best gift I have ever given was…
"Tickets to the cricket. I gave these to my husband a few years ago and also happened to book his accommodation at the same place that the Australian team were staying in. He was over the moon, got to meet his sporting heroes."

4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is…
"My step-father, he always says he just wants a hug on Xmas day. Aaaggh!"

5. The best last-minute gift is…
"Wine, well in my family it is the perfect last-minute gift!"

6. My hot gift buying tip is…
"For a stress-free experience, avoid the shops and the crowds and shop online."

Oh So Coco specialise in luxury Coconut Bath & Body Products that are 100% Australian-made. Check out their product range at www.ohsococo.com.au.  

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

My Favourite Quote: Stacey O'Keeffe, Fashion Weekly

What is your favourite quote? Most people have a quote or saying that really resonates with them. It's usually something you read at just the right time when you need it the most. It remains with you forever, and is often recalled in challenging times. 

My Favourite Quote is our latest blog post series that explores some of our Guest Blogger's favourite quotes that inspire and motive them. We hope you enjoy our first post from Fashion Weekly Director, Stacey O'Keeffe...

"Not reaching your potential is like dying with the music still inside of you." 
- John C. Maxwell

"I found this quote about 4 years ago when I was reading John C. Maxell's book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. It was one of those moments where the quote jumped right off the page and struck a chord within me. I've never forgotten it and often refer to it when I feel like giving up or things seem too hard. I simply reflect on these powerful words as it encourages me to push through and keep moving forward. It's also made me determined not to waste precious time or energy. Could you imagine not letting people hear your music?"

Stacey O'Keeffe has a goal and desire to positively influence and empower men and women worldwide. She is currently the Director of Fashion Weekly, a personal stylist and media influencer. 

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

TUESDAY TIP: The benefits of EverNote

There are now so many helpful apps available when it comes to organising your To Do list and projects, but choosing one that suits your needs can be confusing. This week Marisa South from Vet & Pet Jobs shares why she is a fan of EverNote:

"I think the best organization app is EverNote. I really like it because I can create to-do lists for projects, write down reminders, take pictures, brainstorm ideas, create timelines, and so much more. I can save things from the Internet, and everything gets synced to all of my devices. It’s really cool because I can draw, write, type, record audio, take videos and create PDFs. Then everything is organized into notebooks. I’ve found it really useful when collaborating with team members, especially when feedback is needed on projects."

Marisa South is the General Manager of Vet & Pet Jobs, a career website for employers and job seekers in the veterinary field.

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Monday, 9 January 2017

My Top Gift Tips: Natasha Dickins, Little Red Industries

DIY specialist and professional renovator Natasha Dickins from Little Red Industries says the perfect gift is a handy one! Tash shares her other tips below...

1. The best gift I ever received was…
"My very first tool, a drill. When I was 17 and about to move out of home, my Dad said I had to be able to look after myself."

2. The top gift on my wish list is…
"A year's worth of manicures. Building furniture is tough on your hands!"

3. The best gift I have ever given was…
"A set of screwdrivers in an office Kris Kringle. It was the most unattractive but wanted gift in the pile and resulted in lots of bartering."

4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for is...
"My beautiful hubby. Since I'm the practical one in the family I tend to give him handy gifts that are a bit underwhelming."

5. The best last-minute gift is…
"A book. It's easy to match a book to a friend, a personality type or a particular interest. And it's easy to wrap!"

6. My hot gift buying tip is…
"It's all in the wrapping! A beautifully packaged gift shows you've taken extra care and thought."

Natasha Dickins of Little Red Industries www.littleredindustries.com makes bespoke furniture. Get in touch with her to design your own dining table or other pieces of furniture to suit your home and lifestyle. 

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Friday, 6 January 2017

New summer reading: 6 books to add to your reading list

New books for summer reading
What are you reading? 
6 new books to add to your reading list

Grab a glass of something cold, find a sunny (or shady spot) to soak up our latest books. These interesting reads also make great gifts. 

FOR YOU: Here’s a $20 Discount Voucher. To redeem your $20 voucher, simply enter Discount Code READ in the Discount Code field when you place your order (product total must amount to $20 for voucher to work). You're welcome to use this yourself, or pass onto someone else you know who might enjoy using it. Voucher is valid until midnight Sunday 15/1/2017.
Metal Detector
1. Intuition: Unlock the power! $24.95 
Intuition is something most of us would have experienced at one time or another; it's that gut-feeling or inner voice or 'sixth sense'. It's instinctive by nature, independent of rational analysis or deductive thinking. But can we actively develop our intuition and learn how to better utilise it? Author Dr Cate Howell believes we can, and shows us how in 'Intuition'.
Love me Tender
2. Love me tender : the stories behind the world's favourite songs $36.95
In a book full of surprises and curiosities, Max Cryer reveals the fascinating stories behind 40 songs from around the globe featuring artists as diverse as Mario Lanza, Judy Garland, Elton John and Marlene Dietrich.
How to Fake your Way through a Wine List
3. How to Fake Your Way through a Wine List: Tips and Tricks to Sound Like an Expert $19.95
The world of wine can be overwhelming - so many varieties and rules on what wine to pair with what dish. Fortunately help is at hand with Katherine Cole's handy book, How to Fake Your Way through a Wine List: Tips and Tricks to Sound Like an Expert. 
Paired: Champagne and Sparking Wines
4. Paired: Champagne and Sparking Wines $34.95
This beautifully presented full colour hardback recipe book will encourage and support you to discover the pleasure of matching food and wine for yourself. This first volume showcases sparkling wines of all styles, and challenges usual perceptions by offering tantalising home-cooked recipes for every course of a meal.

5.Philosophy $19.95
Philosophy is to question everything. More than a lifestyle, larger than any single idea, broader than a conviction, philosophy is the love of exploration, of knowledge, of uncertainty, and of that cornerstone of free thinking: doubt. Kevin Perry's "Philosophy" takes the reader on a grand tour of life's biggest questions, examining all that the world's greatest philosophers have said about life and death, love and loss, language, art and God, to name a few.
Fifty Ships That Changed the Course of History: A Nautical History of the World
6. Fifty Ships That Changed the Course of History: A Nautical History of the World $29.95
From the Stone Age to the present day, no technology has had a more profound impact on mankind than watercraft. Boats and ships made possible the settlement and conquest of new worlds. They determined the victors of history-changing wars and aided the spread of new philosophies, technologies, and religions. Even today, virtually everything we purchase and consume—from petroleum and consumer electronics to the clothes we wear and much of the food we eat—depends upon seaborne trade.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Thursday thought...

"All men dream: but not equally. 
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." 
- T.E Lawrence

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Cake of the week: House-warming cake

A few weeks ago we moved house. If I'm honest, it was a pretty stressful event with two young children added to the mix! And I'm still unpacking boxes...

However, the whole ordeal was made more bearable when a gorgeous friend presented this beautiful homemade rainbow layer cake (inspired by this post) as a housewarming gift. 

It was absolutely delicious, and sustained me for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first couple of days;-)

Why I love it:

  • I'm a huge fan of the tonal rainbow look - it's a beautiful surprise when you cut the cake open. 
  • I adore the handwritten message. 
  • It was made with love and cheered me up after a stressful moving experience. 
  • It was delicious (and it fed me for two days!) 

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

TUESDAY TIP: What's the best app for staying organised?

After a short break over Christmas, our Tuesday Tips are back. This week we caught up Brian Gill from Gillware Data Recovery, who explained way OneNote is his favourite app:

"My favorite app for staying organized is OneNote, from Microsoft. I’m able to document everything relating to all of my projects, including typed notes, audio recordings, pictures, and much more. 

I like it because when I save my notes, everything is synced to all of my devices. There’s a variety of formats included as well. So you can make checklists, conduct research, attend meetings, and record lectures while taking notes. 

Another great feature is that it’s built for collaboration. Multiple users can be connected to the same notebook to either view the information that’s stored there, or make edits. Everything that gets edited is highlighted so everyone involved can easily see the recent changes. It’s really proven to be useful in my day to day business interactions."

Brian Gill is the founder and CEO of Gillware Data Recovery, an industry leader and world class data recovery company. Learn more about Gillware Data Recovery at www.gillware.com

Monday, 2 January 2017

My Top Gift Tips: Jason Debel, Urban Strength

Jason is a big believer in listening to other people during the year to pick up clues for the best gifts to buy them. Here are some of his other Top Gift Tips...

1. The best gift I ever received was…
"A book called Caves of Steel by Issac Asimov. It was second hand too, but what made it really special was receiving it as an anniversary gift from someone I loved who knew me enough to give it. I had not read fiction for 10 years and this got my hooked into sci-fi."

2. The top gift on my wish list is…
"This year I'm craving a good swag. I look forward to doing more camping."

3. The best gift I have ever given was…
"It is hard to tell the best gift I've given as it requires me to know what others think. But one I'm most proud of that the person seemed to enjoy the most was donating my time to sit side-by-side for a day to help someone start a business."

4. The hardest person I have ever had to buy a gift for was/is…
"The first gift for my partner. Not knowing her deeply like I do now made it harder and there's expectations I set for myself :-)"

5. The best last-minute gift is…
"The best last minute gift I got was a massage from my partner. While it was good for the muscles to relax, it shows great love."

6. My hot gift buying tip is…
"Listen to people throughout the year and show interest in what they want. People give so many clues you can record for when it is time to give."

Jason Debel is co-founder of Australian bodyweight training store Urban Strength. Learn more about Jason and his business at www.urbanstrength.com.au.