Winter Favourites

Hello Blog Buddies!

The temperature has certainly dropped here, in Bayside Melbourne. Whilst cosy afternoons with a  drink in front of a fire, are lovely, sometimes you need other things to lift your mood during the colder months. I would like to share with you all a few items that have helped me to enjoy the colder weather, rather than suffer through it with chattering teeth...

Melbourne, Australia is well known for being the city that has four seasons in one day. This Winter, whilst we have not experienced much rain, the sun has been out, resulting in the air being extremely cold. The chill factor has certainly increased this year, so here are a few things I have been enjoying over the past couple of months that might brighten your Winter days.

First up... fingerless gloves. I have loved wearing these this Winter. I have a range of colours and designs and find I don't spend the day taking them off and putting them back on again like I did with 'standard' gloves. I currently suffer from cold hands, so this has been the perfect solution. (You can also type and use your phone whilst wearing them... Yay!)

With the nights closing in so early during the Winter months, I find candles add a cosiness and warmth that helps to make the dreary nights more bearable. During Winter, I tend to lean towards the citrus, vanilla and cinnamon scents for general 'staying-in' ambience. 

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't... please do!) you will have seen I received some Tanya Burr Cosmetics in the mail recently. As a more 'mature' lady, I find Tanya Burr's cosmetic range beautifully packaged, thoughtfully considered and lovely to use. The products are really pretty and the price range is also appealing. Her various ranges can be found on the Feel Unique websiteand they deliver to Australia. I have been particularly enjoying her illuminating powders to add warmth and highlight to my face. The two pictured here are called Warm Bronze (below) and Peonies Please. Both are beautiful.

I have already raved about formula in the the lipsticks Ms Burr has created, so I was keen to try a matte liquid lipstick from her range. (This warm, pinky colour is called Martha Moo after her ridiculously adorable dog.) It too, is a lovely product that dries matte and is not at all tacky like some liquid lip colours tend to be. It also has excellent staying power... a winning combination. 

I have also been trying the Bouriois Radiance Reveal Concealor which has had high praise for 'under-eye-brightening'. As someone older than most You-Tubers spruiking these products, I am always wary that products can now enhance my "fine lines". I am happy to report that this concealer worked wonderfully well on my skin and absolutely brightened my under-eye area.
 This shade is 01 Ivory

I would like to give a quick shout out to one of my favourite flowers at this point. Camellias rate highly for me (as mentioned before) as they bloom in the dead of Winter... when you really need a flower. They are there to brighten your dreary days when most of the other flowers are hiding. They always remember to remind us that Spring will soon be here. 

And speaking of nice things to look at, I would like to mention how much my husband and I have been loving the series 'Suits.' A work colleague recommended it to me after I mentioned I needed a new show to watch with my husband. My personal highlights include Donna's sass, Lewis' visual humour, Rachel's wardrobe, Jessica's voice, Mike's eyes and well... everything Harvey. (*sigh*) The storylines are action packed and the banter is fabulous. The fact it is set in New York makes it even more perfect. I highly recommend it. 
(Available on Netflicks in Australia)

So there you have it. A few of my favourite products along with how I have been passing the long evenings at home. I hope you have been keeping warm!

What do you enjoy doing during the Winter months?

For the Love of Books

Hello Blog Buddies!

It is no secret that I am a certified 'Book Lover' so I thought I would share my passion in a post...

I grew up in a household where books were treasured and loved. My Mother was an avid reader and she and I would spend hours discussing books, both when I was young as well as when I was an adult. Her book collection was vast and she was constantly asking my father to 'put in another shelf' somewhere. These shelves ran around doorways in my childhood home. 
When people saw them for the first time and made comment, my Mother's standard reply was, 
"We are very 'Book-ish' people..," which was often delivered in a tone that suggested 
if you weren't, ...there might be a problem.

As a child, I was read to by my Mother every evening. I feel I must clarify here, that even as I grew up and was an independent reader, she still read to me and shared books she had enjoyed as a young girl. I would read my school assigned book to her whilst she prepared dinner, but then we would read a carefully chosen book together at bed time.

As a teacher and educator, I simply cannot stress the importance of this. Parents often think that because their children can read by themselves and are no longer under the age of ten, they don't need to read to their children. I would like to suggest otherwise. Whether my Mother was aware of this, or she just innately knew, I don't know, ... but by reading good literature to me each evening, I was hearing complex sentence structure as well as increasing my vocabulary on a daily basis. This of course, helped me become a better student at school as well as a better conversationalist. 

My Mother also knew that books could be expensive, so she became very adapt at finding good books at secondhand book shops. (The Laura Ingalls book, above, still has the 10c price on it's cover) This actually made the books more interesting to me. Sometimes, 
we would talk about where the book might have been and how lucky we were to have 
found it sitting in a dusty corner, waiting for us.

As a teacher, I ensure I read out loud to my class every single day. I have yet to teach a class that doesn't enjoy this. In fact, "If we hurry up and clean the classroom quickly, we might have time for a quick chapter..." will always ensure a classroom will be tidy in record time! This current generation may not have the opportunity to develop a love of the feel of a book that I have. I love the tactile experience of a book... the smell of new pages... the feel of high gloss paper found in coffee table books... which is something my twenty-something daughter, who is an avid reader, does not seem to possess. Her argument, (which contains practicalities) is that she can take fifteen books with her on a trip in one electronic device... and her back and shoulders will thank her for it. Not to mention, when she moves, (unlike myself) she does not have to struggle with the heavy boxes of books that have followed me around the world!


The printed word is evolving and information is so much more accessible than it was. Electronic books are arguably environmentally more viable but I currently prefer to read a paper version. I think I struggle with e-books because my printed versions feel like friends. I can show you books that helped me escape difficult times and made me laugh when I never thought I could again. I have travelled to places and gained new friends, all because of books. When I visit people's homes, I often ask to see their book collections... (I think you can tell a great deal about a person by the books they read!) I also use books as a decorative item. Books can be found all over our current home, sitting on tables and propping up photos, and I like it that way. 

Instilling a love and passion for books with a child helps to install a love of learning. I still like walking into a room with a wall of books and feeling the rush of excitement I get when I see a book I would love to read... You can't beat it.

I dear friend recently reminded me of a simple quote by Thomas Jefferson in 1815 which is;
"I cannot live without books." I hope to impart this passion for books to the children I teach and I hope parents continue to read to their children long after they can do it for themselves.

Summer Favourites

Hello Blog Buddies!

As many of you will know, summer is coming to an end here in beautiful Melbourne. The days are certainly cooling off and the temperatures are dropping faster in the evenings. So before the long summer evenings completely vanish, I wanted to share a few things I have been enjoying over the past few months...

Due to my husband's shoulder operation this summer, we were a little bit house bound and forced to stay close to home. Being a bit of a 'home body', this did not phase me... I can easily make a day disappear either in a book or on my computer. 

I must confess however, I also did some significant 'binge watching' of Netflicks' original series, 
'The Crown" this summer. 

I have to say, it is one of the most beautifully shot series I have seen in recent times. The cast is truly outstanding (once you get past the fact that Prince Phillip is being played by Doctor Who... which is easy to do as he nails HRH's mannerisms) and the costumes and settings are sumptuous and elegant.

Without doubt, it has made me want to overhaul my wardrobe completely, (in an effort to dress like Princess Margaret) always drink hot beverages out of a china cup, and has definitely inspired me to re-think head scarves. I am also thrilled to discover that there are at least three more series in the making... Tally Ho!

In an effort to drink more water this summer, I have purchased a couple of bright tumblers that for some reason, do make it easier to drink two litres of water a day... 
and for around $3, whatever works, I say!

I was fortunate enough to receive some beautiful Hourglass products at Christmas. The gorgeous Sheridan from @thelookbysheridan was kind enough to give me a lesson in how to use these products for all occasions. She was so generous with her time and taught me so much. The highlighters, (Ambient Incandescent and Ambient Euphoric)  are my particular favourites along with Sheridan's favourite brush, that as a make-up artist, she says she can't do without... the Nars Yachiyo Kabuki brush is an extremely versatile brush that I now use every day.

Another beauty product I am currently enjoying is the GoTo Skincare 'Face Hero'. It is an oil that can be used on all skin types and can be applied either in the morning or evening... or both. Even though any of the Go To products are worth purchasing simply because of the hilarious instructions, I was was rather hesitant about putting an oil directly onto my face on a regular basis. What was I thinking? The always delightful Zoe Foster-Blake will never lead you astray... I can honestly say that my Go To Skincare products have greatly improved my overall complexion. Oh... and its an Australian product... Yay!

Finally, my love of rose gold continues (these clips are actually a great deal more 'rosy' than they are in this picture) and I have particularly enjoyed finding the odd bit of it for both my home desk as well as my work desk this summer.

So there you have it... a bit of an odd selection but these truly have been a few of my favourite things this summer. 

Let me know what you think of 'The Crown' if you watch it...

A New Year

Hello Blog Buddies!

As Melbourne teachers ready themselves to return to work tomorrow, I thought I would celebrate the occasion with a nod to the new year...

There is nothing like the 'fresh page' feeling of a new year. I love the notion that we all get to 'start again' on New Year's Day. How wonderful! I personally prefer to set goals rather than resolutions, simply because the word resolution just seems a tad inflexible to me! I also think that having too many immediate goals can precipitate failure so I always start with just a few. After a bit of thought, below are three of my personal goals for 2017.

Number 1: Enjoy my weekends.
As a teacher, often the weekend can be eaten away by classroom preparation. In the past, I have spent Sunday evenings feeling guilty about all the things I hadn't completed for work, and thus ruining what would otherwise be a lovely evening. I plan to no longer do this!

Number 2: Celebrate the little things.
The older I get, the more I find myself working towards a simpler lifestyle. Finding joy in the day-to-day running of your family as well as celebrating milestones... any milestones (no matter how small) helps me focus on the positives in my life. I plan to do this more often.

Number 3: Live better with less.
I have come to the conclusion I have too much 'stuff'. (Actually, I think we pretty much all do!) This year, I plan to streamline some of my belongings and organise items I do have in a more orderly fashion. I plan to do this over a period of time.

So as the first month of the new year slips by, how are your goals travelling? Have you written a list? Have you ticked of any goals yet or are you still enjoying your holidays? Let me know...

And finally, with a farewell wave to Michelle Obama, I will take her lead and choose hope as my global goal. As she said in her final interview as First Lady, 

"... Because what do we have if we don't have hope?..."

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